McShane pays tribute to father

06 June 2011 07:30

Paul McShane's thoughts will turn to his late father when he leads the Republic of Ireland into friendly battle with Italy in Liege on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old Hull defender will captain the side at the Maurice Dufrasne Stadium in the absence of Robbie Keane. It will be a proud moment for Dubliner McShane, who took most of the squad to a charity golf day on Sunday in memory of his father Sean, who died suddenly in March last year.

He said: "My dad was a major influence in my life. Since I was very young, he would always come to every game and he was always there for me. Hopefully, he's there looking down on me. I am sure he will be very proud also."

McShane added: "It's an honour. I don't want to bore you with all the cliches, but my family will be very proud of me. I found out just a few hours ago, so I didn't have time to ring anyone and tell them. I always love meeting up with the Irish team, and leading the team out will be fantastic."

Former Dublin hurler McShane Senior's death came as a shock, and his son admitted Sunday's event proved to be an emotional one for his family.

He said: "It was such a shock, that takes a lot of time to get over. It was quite emotional. My mum and my sister were there (on Sunday), and my brother. It was a great turn-out. It was great to see all the lads there as well.

"He was quite an admired man around the local area, so there were quite a lot of people there to celebrate it. It was a good day. It was for autism around the local area. I'm not sure how much we raised - we had to be back for a curfew, so I didn't find out."

However, McShane's attention quickly returned to football and the task of leading his country against the Italians, who could not beat them either in Dublin or Bari during the qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup, but still took top spot in the group.

Ireland famously defeated Italy in New York at the 1994 World Cup finals, a game then schoolboy McShane remembers well.

He said: "I have got memories of that game, it was a great game. We have had some good games against Italy in the past, so I will be looking forward to leading the team out. It's got great history against Italy, so it's a great honour."

Source: PA