Luckless Judge looking to make up for lost time

It was Mick McCarthy who told Alan Judge that without bad luck he would have no luck at all.

Luckless Judge looking to make up for lost time

It was Mick McCarthy who told Alan Judge that without bad luck he would have no luck at all.

It was classic McCarthy: Pithy and dry and bang on the money.

The Ireland manager made the observation after his side’s 1-1 draw in Denmark last June when Judge had set up the equaliser and, in the same moment, shipped a tackle that left him with a broken wrist.

“It was a weird one, just lying there,” said Judge of the incident in Copenhagen. “Robbie Brady hung around because he knows what it’s like to have a bad injury, Seamus Coleman waited as well.

“They knew something was wrong and they’d be assuming it’s the worst with me lying there in agony. It’s a weird one because you can hear the crowd chanting at you. It was good and bad all at once.”

Judge was entitled to think he had overcome enough adversity by then given a double leg break three years earlier had cost him a possible Premier League switch to Newcastle United at a time when he was starring for a Brentford side riding high in the Championship.

Brentford moved on without him in the 20 months it took to recover. What followed was a move to an Ipswich Town side marooned at the foot of the Championship table and one now plying its trade in the third tier, albeit at its summit.

He settled well in East Anglia, all the more now that his family have joined him from London, but the injury suffered in Denmark was just one layer in another difficult period for him over the summer.

Mark Warburton, his old boss at Brentford, tried hard to bring him to QPR over the close season and Judge was tempted, not just by the return to the Championship but the fact that, with his daughter Emily requiring two operations, they would be five minutes from the hospital.

In the end, Ipswich refused three offers for his services and, while he has struggled with his form on returning from injury in the earlier part of the season, the battle for his services has actually proven to be something of a confidence boost for a player now who feels he is getting back to his best.

“Yeah, obviously as a player you want to play at the highest level you can. For me, confidence-wise, it’s great that Championship teams still think I can play in the Championship.

“I still think I can or else I wouldn’t have gotten back in and around the Irish team with my performances.

“I know people say that it’s League One and the standard isn’t the greatest but in my mind I’m thinking, one year in the League One, we’ll be back in the Championship and, with the way we are going at the moment, that looks good.”

McCarthy has done his bit in raising spirits.

The Ireland boss has continuously turned to Judge in this his second stint in charge of the national team and the playmaker is hoping he can do his bit in securing a Euro 2020 spot for his team.

Playing in a major tournament in Dublin would be special, for obvious reasons, and also for the fact Judge missed Euro 2016 because of that double leg break having been a part of the squad that accounted for Germany and secured their berth.

“I was part of it, I think it was me and (Shane) Duffy, we were part of it, but we weren’t really because we were only breaking in. It felt a bit awkward.

“Obviously it was great that night but now I feel I’ve contributed a little bit, I’ve played in some of the games.”

And more to come.

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