Forde called up to Irish senior squad

Date Published: 17-Mar-2011

CIARAN TIERNEY

A series of superb performances between the posts for London club Millwall FC in the English Championship this season has seen Galway native David Forde receive his first ever call-up to the Republic of Ireland soccer squad this week.

It has hardly been an overnight success story for the former Galway United and Derry City goalkeeper who, at 31 years of age, has been included in the squad for the games against Macedonia and Uruguay at the end of this month.

There were celebrations in his native Westside when Forde’s inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni’s 29-man selection was confirmed on Monday afternoon, but the Galway man had been informed of his inclusion after the Lions’ 3-0 win at Burnley on Saturday.

Forde – who came up through the underage ranks locally under John Joyce at Newcastle United and Joe Reilly at Galway Hibernians – has missed just one senior game for Millwall over the past three seasons and the clean sheet at Burnley was his 17th of the current campaign with the South London side.

With the long-serving Shay Given absent due to an injury, the Galway man was one of three goalkeepers to get the call-up yesterday, along with Keiren Westwood of Coventry City and Darren Randolph of Motherwell.

“I actually found out on the way back from Burnley and it did bring a tear to the eye,” said Forde this week.

“Playing for my country is something I’ve always dreamed of, and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with the squad next week and working with the other Irish lads. I spoke to my family back home as soon as I got the news and they’re as proud as I am.”

He will now join Trapattoni’s men for the European Championship qualifier against Macedonia on Saturday, March 26, and the international friendly against Uruguay three days later.

After making his debut against Oldham at the start of 2008-9, Forde helped Millwall to reach the First Division play-off final on two consecutive seasons, losing the first to Scunthorpe United in May 2009 but beating Swindon Town 1-0 at Wembley Stadium last May. He played every minute of every match last season, recording 19 clean sheets and saving five penalties.

Millwall are currently lying in 12th place in the Championship, but have not ruled out the possibility of a late run towards the play-offs as they are just seven points behind sixth placed Nottingham Forest. He kept 21 clean sheets last season, including three in the play-off games as Millwall returned to the second tier of English soccer.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.