How the Irish fared: Daryl Murphy is ‘a great pro’, says Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez hailed Daryl Murphy as “a great professional” after the striker scored his first goal for Newcastle in Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Birmingham.
How the Irish fared: Daryl Murphy is ‘a great pro’, says Rafa Benitez

Murphy, whose only previous goal this season came in Ireland’s 2-2 draw away to Serbia, has had limited opportunities since joining the Magpies from Ipswich last August.

But he made the most of his second start for the Toon Army by opening the scoring after just five minutes. However, Newcastle were unable to retain their advantage and a 1-1 draw means an unwelcome replay will be needed.

That reality frustrated Benitez but he had only good things to say about Murphy. “Daryl Murphy put in a tremendous effort,” he said. “I’m really pleased with him and the fact that he scored too. He’s a great professional.”

For Murphy, just getting the opportunity to start a game was a relief.

“It has been a long wait for another start,” said Murphy. “Wolves in the EFL Cup (last September) was my last start. It was worth the wait, but I am disappointed we drew.”

Asked if Saturday’s goal could help him kick-start his Newcastle career, Murphy replied: “I hope so. It was always my aim to get my head down. I wasn’t going to walk onto the team or anything like that. I was just waiting for a chance and, thankfully, I’ve scored.”

Elsewhere a fine free-kick from Matt Doherty helped Wolves to a 2-0 win at Stoke. Wolves boss Paul Lambert described Doherty’s strike 10 minutes from the end as “outstanding”, an assessment nobody would disagree with.

Like Murphy at Newcastle, Richie Towell has found first-team opportunities at Brighton hard to come by. He got a rare chance to shine on Saturday and the former Dundalk man made it count, impressing manager Chris Hughton as Brighton beat MK Dons 2-0.

“I thought he was very good,” Hughton said of Towell. “He’s a fit lad, hasn’t had the games he’d have liked, got a whack towards the end, but I thought he covered a really good distance today.”

Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich needed a late equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw against National League leaders Lincoln and the former Ireland boss was booed at the final whistle. McCarthy said: “I don’t think we gave the best account of ourselves, but the positives for me is that we didn’t lose and we are still in the cup.”

Elsewhere, Glen Rea was sent off in Luton’s 2-1 defeat to Accrington Stanley.

In yesterday’s FA Cup action, Anthony Pilkington scored in a losing cause as Cardiff City went down 2-1 at home to Fulham,

While the FA Cup dominated the football weekend, there was also action in League One where Stephen Dawson scored in Scunthorpe’s 3-2 win over Bury and Simon Cox netted in Southend’s 4-2 defeat at home to Sheffield United.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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