Despite not yet netting for his country, Daryl Murphy will believe he can be on the plane to France next June.
After a difficult start to the season, the goals have started to flow at club level this month and Murphy was on the mark again on Saturday, as Ipswich drew 2-2 at home to Wolves in the Championship.
Ipswich’s other goal against Wolves came courtesy of another Irishman in Jonathan Douglas, but the midfielder was irritated by the failure to take all three points despite having led twice.
“It is frustrating not to get the three points, especially when you’ve gone into the lead twice,” Douglas said. “I thought it was a good game and it was pretty end-to-end, but we’re disappointed with a draw, even though it’s another point for us.”
That sense of frustration was echoed by Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy.
He said: “I’m pleased with our performance, but disappointed with the goals we conceded. We twice let them off the hook by twice allowing them to get back into the game.”
Elsewhere, Lee Carsley got the perfect finish to his short spell in management, as an injury-time goal earned 10-man Brentford a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
Brentford are set to appoint a new boss this week with Carsley, who has consistently insisted he has no desire to manage on a permanent basis, set to return to his previous role as the club’s development squad manager.
Carsley said: “This was my last game, so it was nice to get a result. My remit was always to get us back on track and now, with the way we’ve been playing and a lot of the injured boys coming back to fitness, I can say I’ve done that. I will be staying on to help with the transition, before returning to my old role.”
Other than Murphy, Sean Scannell was the only Irish goalscorer in the Championship at the weekend, but his effort came in a losing cause after a late collapse saw Huddersfield go down 3-1 to Sheffield Wednesday.
There was an Irish player sent off, but Leon Best’s dismissal didn’t stop Rotherham United from winning 1-0 at Leeds United.
In League One, Kevin Long scored a late winner, as Barnsley ended a run of eight straight defeats by winning 2-1 at Oldham. Fellow Corkonian Conor Hourihane had earlier put Barnsley ahead, before Mark Yeates equalised.
However, the last word went to Long, who only joined the Tykes from Burnley on Friday on a one-month loan deal, with Saturday’s game his first since he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligaments on his Premier League debut at Newcastle Utd on New Year’s Day.
Oldham boss Lee Johnson said: “Long deserved his goal, he was fantastic today.”
In League Two, Rhys Murphy scored twice as Crawley Town beat Bristol Rovers; Brendan Moloney scored the winner as Northampton won 2-1 at Notts County, while Barry Corr netted in Cambridge United’s 3-2 home defeat to Accrington Stanley.