Murphy scored 27 times for Ipswich last season but went into Saturday’s Championship game with Rotherham having yet to net this term. But he ended his drought in some style, grabbing the first hat-trick of his career as Ipswich recorded a 5-2 victory.
With Long battling an ankle injury and Jonathan Walters suspended for Friday’s first leg against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Murphy’s return to form could scarcely have been better timed.
McCarthy said: “I don’t pick other managers’ teams, but I would imagine he’s put himself back in Martin O’Neill’s plans. Long is injured and Jonathan Walters is suspended, but now he’s got the free-scoring Daryl Murphy for the Bosnia game.”
Jonathan Douglas was also on the scoresheet for the Tractor Boys but, inevitably, the focus of attention was Murphy’s treble.
“Everyone is delighted for Daryl,” added McCarthy. “It’s lovely to have him back scoring.
“Somebody said to me the other day that form is temporary and class is permanent. I hope that rule fits for him.
“I was certain he would get his goals after the last three performances because he’s got back to being hard-working and being a real pest.”
While Murphy was tormenting Rotherham, O’Neill was at Craven Cottage where he saw Stephen Gleeson, who didn’t make the initial 39-man squad for the Bosnia-Herzegovina games, star in Birmingham City’s 5-2 win at Fulham. Gleeson opened the scoring and capped an impressive display by making the fifth.
It was another weekend to savour for Chris Hughton as his Brighton side set a club record of 17 league games without defeat as they beat the MK Dons 2-1.
There was a heavy programme of FA Cup first-round games at the weekend.
Paddy Madden scored twice as Scunthorpe beat Southend 2-1, while Pádraig Amond also doubled up in Grimsby’s 5-1 win over St Albans City.
Elsewhere, Anthony Forde scored in Walsall’s 2-0 win over Fleetwood, Aidan O’Brien netted in Millwall’s 3-1 triumph over AFC Fylde, and Conor Sammon was on the mark as Sheffield United beat Worcester City 3-0.
In the Scottish Premiership, goals from Adam Rooney and Jonathan Hayes gave out-of-sorts Aberdeen a 2-0 win over Dundee United.