Queens Park Rangers skipper Martin Rowlands tells of his pride to represent his country in their home draw with World Champions Italy.
The 30-year-old central midfielder was introduced as a substitute for Stoke City’s Glenn Whelan with 20 minutes remaining at Croke Park.
The score was poised at 1-1 with the aforementioned Whelan handing Eire the lead from distance before Mauro Camoranesi equalised with a close range header.
Following Rowlands’ introduction Middlesbrough’s Sean St Ledger thought he’d won the clash with a stooping header in the dying stages. Before Alberto Gillardino showed class and composure to roll home in injury time.
Despite late heartbreak Rowlands was proud of his display, speaking to QPR.co.uk.
‘From a personal point of view, I was immensely proud to represent my country once again,” he said.
‘It is an unbelievable honour whenever you pull on the shirt – especially when it’s against the World Champions.
‘However, being 2-1 up with just a minute to play and drawing 2-2 was a bitter pill to swallow.
‘I thought we’d done enough to win the game and keep our automatic qualification hopes alive, but it wasn’t to be.’
Rowlands will be looking for a starting berth as the Republic of Ireland host Montenegro before embarking on their World Cup playoff test. Glenn Whelan is suspended for the game and Rowlands should surely be a front-runner to replace him.
Saturday’s was the R’s skipper’s third cap for Ireland, the first two coming in 2004 under the guidance of former boss Brian Kerr.
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