Jayson Molumby’s U21 Republic of Ireland debut is a triumph of skill and will. A serious knee injury derailed his career for 15 months but the Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder has overcome that trauma to line out for Stephen Kenny’s side tomorrow evening against Luxembourg (eir Sport, 5pm).
“I dislocated my kneecap,” says Molumby, with a deep breath. "The medics said I’d have been better off snapping my cruciate because the research is so good these days that players always get back from that one. I had played on for six months after I’d first felt it. Aaron Connolly, another Irish lad at Brighton, tackled me in training and the club believed I was young enough to allow it to heal itself through rehab. Then came the set-back and I really wondered if I’d ever play again. Mentally, that was very tough.”
Now the star from Cappoquin is ready to re-set. Kenny, the future senior boss, made a point of signalling out the bustling midfielder shortly after his appointment in December and he’s a major part to play in the Euro 2021 qualifiers kicking off tomorrow in Tallaght.
“Getting such a bad injury is annoying because I’m not that well known. Maybe suffering it at 26 is different. Everybody knows what they can do. At least Chris Hughton has worked me over the years and that helps. I’ve another season on my contract and need to build on the first three games I’ve played since getting my fitness back. This is an exciting time to be part of the U21s. Stephen has laid it out that we could become the first Ireland team to reach a major tournament at this age-group.
“I feel we can compete against anyone and it’s time we got that back into Irish teams. People abroad, especially in England, stereotype the Irish as just being mad but we have some really, good technical players. Stephen has some excellent players in this squad and then there’s Aaron Connolly and Michael Obafemi to come back from injury.”
C Kelleher (Liverpool); L O’Connor (Manchester United), D O’Shea (Exeter City), C Masterson (Liverpool), T Clarke (Shamrock Rovers); J Lennon (St. Patrick’s Athletic), C Coventry (West Ham United); C Ronan (FC DAC 1904), J Molumby (Brighton & Hove Albion), N Farrugia (UCD); A Drinan (Waterford).