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'I Think I’ll Watch It' - Seamus Coleman On Recovering From World Cup Disappointment

'I Think I’ll Watch It' - Seamus Coleman On Recovering From World Cup Disappointment
By Gavin Cooney Updated

Seamus Coleman is in the lobby of a swanky Ballsbridge hotel, hanging in the balance of the reality of a man not going to the World Cup.

"I think I’ll watch it because it’ll be hard to get away from it. But yeah...massively disappointed that we’re not there. We had such a great chance and now that the build-up is starting the disappointment is getting more and more".

While Ireland fell short against Denmark, Coleman at least won his personal battle, and in January ended what proved to be a ten-month lay-off from the broken leg he suffered against Wales. Only John O'Shea got a louder cheer ahead of kick-off against the United States last Saturday, as Coleman returned to play in Dublin for the first time since the injury. It ended in triumph, too: a last-minute winner by Alan Judge giving Ireland their first win of 2018 and the maiden come-from-behind-victory of the Martin O'Neill era.

It’s massive [to win]. We don’t have a habit of losing lots of games, particularly at the Aviva: we have a good record there. It’s important for a number of reasons, particularly for the new players coming in, to know what it feels like to get a win for your country.

Alan Judge scoring was so important. Seeing him scoring was as good as any win.

He's had such a tough two years.

O'Neill handed out eight debuts across three games with Turkey, France, and the States, and randomly cited Joe Lapira after Saturday's game as a cautionary tale against ending up with "nineteen one-cap wonders". Conversely, O'Neill used the same press conference to swamp Declan Rice with praise. Coleman does not demur when asked who he has been most impressed with, either.

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Who do you think? Declan Rice. He’s been great. He’s been very impressive. In the three games he’s played he’s been the best player in all three games. You don’t want to build him up too much, but credit where credit is due.

But he’s a likeable lad, and you can say these things and if he hears them it won’t go to his head as he’s a down to earth lad. Darragh Lenihan did great when he came on against the USA, and Graham [Burke]'s done great, obviously.

And what of those pesky West Ham voices linking Rice with England? Again, Coleman is on-script.

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You can see how he is playing, and the passion with which he is playing that it’s not even in his head. We’re happy to have him and he’s Irish, and proud to be Irish.

While delighted to resume his career this season, the competitor in Coleman can't help but suffer some regret. "At club level, I saw a manager who I really liked go, in Ronald Koeman, and not being fit to help is a big disappointment. The biggest disappointment was the second-half of the World Cup qualification campaign and the night against Denmark, and the feeling I could have made a difference along a way".

Back to the World Cup, then. This week brought a reminder of the apogee of our last appearance: Robbie Keane's last-gasp equaliser against Germany. Coleman had the good sense not to be sitting his Junior Cert at the time, and thus wasn't one of the legion of students whose English paper was interrupted by benevolent, score-reading invigilators.

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I was in the house with my Dad and one of my friends. Everyone remembers where they were when that goal went in. It was unbelievable.

They are the moments you play football for and they are the moments you watch football for: they bring everyone together.

That goal will be talked about for a long time, as will Robbie Brady’s that night against Italy.

But I wasn’t doing my Leaving Cert, I was in second year so I was off. I was alright!

Damien Duff recalled that World Cup in the media this week, and also expressed his "worry" that Irish kids are more interested in playing rugby than football. Duff called on the Irish team to inspire a new generation, so does the national captain feel a responsibility to that cause when he leads Ireland out of a tunnel?

"Yeah, I do. I looked at the telly and watched lads who wanted to make me play for Ireland. Obviously, the rugby crowd are doing that if that’s what’s being said".

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Coleman hasn't been involved with any World Cup sweepstakes at Everton, so his World Cup tip is free of that kind of self-interest. "I thought France were very good when we played France. It’s hard to say…Germany are a very good tournament team…but I’ll say France and see how things go".

What does the summer hold for the Irish captain? He'll tune into the World Cup for sure before reporting back to Marco Silva for pre-season for Everton, although there is the prospect of another competition holding his interests until then.

Fermanagh had a massive result against Monaghan and it opens it up for anyone, so if Donegal can win [against Down this weekend] it’s a big chance for them.

Rory Gallagher is obviously doing something right at the minute, so fair play to him.

Donegal against Fermanagh would be... interesting.

Those local rows will be a nice, if imperfect, distraction from the Iliad unspooling in Russia.

Seamus Coleman was speaking at the launch of SPAR’s Better Choices summer recipes, perfect for creating healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners at home. Each recipe can be made with products available from your local SPAR store as part of the Better Choices healthy eating initiative. For further information, visit: www.SPAR.ie

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