Ronan Curtis answers Ireland call

Ireland's Ronan Curtis gets away from Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis.Ireland's Ronan Curtis gets away from Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis.
Ireland's Ronan Curtis gets away from Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis.
Ronan Curtis is determined to prove his worth to Stephen Kenny after earning a late call- up to the Republic of Ireland squad.

The 24 year-old former Derry City striker was one of SIX late replacements drafted in for tomorrow night’s UEFA Nations League clash against Finland in Helsinki.

He arrived in Dublin from Portsmouth late Sunday night after getting the call from the FAI and is delighted to get the chance to win his fourth senior international cap.

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Curtis hasn’t featured in the Ireland senior panel since starting in the 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria 13 months ago under former boss, Mick McCarthy.

He was initially overlooked for Kenny’s squad but the Dubliner was forced to review his options when one player tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the Wales fixture on Sunday.

Four others were identified as close contacts and also stood down from the squad.

The reshuffle presented an opportunity for St Johnston native Curtis, who linked up with his international teammates at breakfast yesterday morning, and he’s desperate for the chance to show Kenny what he can offer his squad.

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“It was a bit of a surprise but a welcome one to be fair,” said Curtis.

“I was watching the two games and heard all about the trouble with the Covid tests. So I was just waiting around, hoping I would get a call-up and I did in the end.

“I’m not too sure at the minute if I’ll be involved in the game but it would obviously be nice to get some game time. We’ll see!”

The Ireland squad and backroom staff were tested for Covid-19 at their Dublin base on Sunday night and all but one of the results came back negative yesterday morning.

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Curtis and his teammates fly out to Helsinki today and after the initial disappointment of not being involved for games against Slovakia and Wales, he’s ‘grateful’ to be involved.

“You always want to play for your country and get as many caps as you can,” he added. “So obviously when I didn’t get picked it was a bit disheartening and frustrating but you just have to work harder to try and get into the squad for the next campaign.

“I’m grateful to be here now and hopefully, come Wednesday night I can bring something to the table for the lads and the manager.”