Republic of Ireland; 1 England 2
There is always something special when an international fixture is staged at the RSC. Down through the years various games at different grades have been played at the Kilbarry venue, including Schools Internationals, Under 16, U18 and U21 contests and we here in Waterford have been lucky to see local players like Shane Robinson, John O’Shea, Eddie Nolan and Noel Hunt feature in those games.
On Wednesday night last it was the turn of Kenny Browne to don the green shirt. This was his first ever cap of any description and he was barely able to contain his delight during the week leading up to the game. The former Johnville, Bohemians and Waterford United defender now plays with Sporting Fingal as a full-time professional and it came as no surprise when Irish manager Paul Doolin named him in his squad for this game against England, who were comprised of the top players who play in the Blue Square Conference League.
Kenny, however, fell victim to a dreadful bout of the flu 48 hours before the game and he looked like an extremely downbeat young man on Monday when he spoke at the team’s headquarters in the Faithlegg House Hotel.
“I have not been sick for over two years and now this happens. I don’t believe it. To get the flu two days before the match is unreal because I was looking forward to the game since I was named in the squad. I have never been capped at any level and to get the chance to play for Ireland in my home town and in front of my family is something I have dreamt about for a very long time,” he admitted.
The Irish team doctor gave his full attention to the St John’s Park native and on the morning of the match Kenny was named in the starting eleven, wearing the No 5 shirt. His family and friends sat proudly in the stand as the sun beamed down on the newly manicured surface. When the National Anthem was played, Kenny stood proudly with his team-mates and sang his heart out as he faced the tricolour. Good guys, we thought, do get their rewards after all in what can be a very cruel sport.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full match report.