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Forde proud to be called up for Ireland

26 March 2011 3,338 views No Comment Written by Michael

The following is a guest article from Ciaran McCauley.

David Forde returns to Lansdowne Road this weekend in much different circumstances to his last visit. Ciaran McCauley caught up with the Galway keeper on what his first call-up to an international squad means.

When David Forde waved good bye to the League of Ireland in 2006, he was clutching an FAI Cup winners medal in the middle of Lansdowne Road after the final football game at the creaking old ground. An epic 4-3 win for Derry City was a fitting send-off for the venerable stadium, soon to be torn down in favour of a shiny,glass bedecked stadium from space. Forde too was departing – not to space though, just to the higher football echelons of Cardiff City FC.

Fast-forward just over four years and the Galway keeper is returning to Lansdowne Road. Last week, at 31-years-old, he received his first call-up to an international squad and became Ireland’s latest international keeper. That’s his first international call-up ever – unlike Darren Randolph, a regular fixture in Irish under-age squads, Forde has never previously been close to representing his country at any level.

“It’s a very proud moment for me,” he says. “A big moment. Being able to tell my parents I got called up was emotional to be honest. I always had the belief I could get here and, unfortunately for Shay [Given] and Joe [Murphy] it’s come because of injury. But now I’m here, I’m looking to stay. It’s been a long road to get here.”

Indeed it has – when leaving Derry, a stated aim of the big keeper’s was to break into the Ireland squad. But things didn’t initially go to plan on his return to English football. Forde’s two years at Cardiff, supplemented by stints on loan at Luton and Bournemouth, were largely as a reserve. In 2008, he dropped down to League One to join Millwall, a move which proved fateful for both the club and player. Since Forde firmly established himself as number one at The New Den, Millwall
have clambered into the Championship and lie just six points from the play-offs.

“We’re having a really good year this season,” he acknowledges. “We can go further though. We’ve had fantastic results in the last few weeks, beating Burnley and QPR, and we seem to be getting into a groove. Teams like Blackpool have prove if you can put a run together, then promotion is possible. So maybe we can sneak in there.”

Instrumental to Millwall’s success has been an excellent defensive record. Forde’s kept 17 clean sheets this season, a record only surpassed – ironically – by Paddy Kenny. It’s the kind of form that finally brought the former West Ham United player to the attention to Alan Kelly and, in turn, to Giovanni Trapattoni. But does Forde have any schemes for impressing the manager this week?

“My Italian ain’t very good, so I won’t be saying much to him,” he laughs. “My only plan is to train hard and catch his eye. It would be nice to get a cap, but Keiren [Westwood] looks in line for the Macedonia game. But I’d like to think I can do enough in training to get a look in for the Uruguay game. Most of all, I’m going to enjoy the experience. I’ve managed to tick a lot of boxes in the last few years – establishing myself at Millwall, helping them get promoted. The two ambitions left
are to play in the Premier League and to play for my country – on a personal level that would be massive.”

After almost five years away, Forde could be checking out the new Lansdowne Road from the substitutes bench this evening. It’s doubtful he’ll have to wait as long for another invitation.

Related posts:

  1. Ciaran Clark called up the Irish Squad
  2. Who to replace Given?
  3. Seamus Coleman called up to Irish squad
  4. Jamie O’Hara “interested” in Ireland call
  5. Midweek Review: 28th September

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