Fahey itching to get back
Keith Fahey is desperate to make up for lost time as he prepares to be pitched into battle with the mighty Germany.
The 29-year-old Birmingham midfielder spent the summer watching his Republic of Ireland team-mates toiling at the Euro 2012 finals on television after his dream of joining them in Poland was torn apart by a persistent groin injury.
Four months on, Fahey has emerged as the favourite to clinch the third spot in Giovanni Trapattoni's re-shaped central midfield as the veteran Italian attempts to shackle German dangerman Mesut Ozil and give his side a foothold in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium.
The Dubliner has collected 15 senior caps to date, but is not satisfied simply to meet up with the squad whenever he is called upon.
Fahey said: "To be honest, I have missed nearly a year now since I last played with injuries and I am desperate to play, I am desperate to play for Ireland.
"I am not one who comes and expects to sit on the bench every game, I want to play.
"If I have to do better in training or whatever, I am willing to do it. I want to play, I want to get more caps under my belt, I want to do well. I want to wear the green shirt."
If he does get the nod, Fahey could play a key role in Trapattoni's play to limit the Germans.
The 73-year-old has come in for criticism over his reliance on the 4-4-2 system he has adopted for the vast majority of games Ireland have played under his charge.
His inflexibility was cruelly exposed by Russia during the last qualification campaign when the visitors arrived at the Aviva Stadium and raced into a 3-0 lead as they exploited the space in the middle of the pitch before running out 3-2 winners.
Ireland suffered during the summer too when Spain and Italy enjoyed similar freedom despite Trapattoni's efforts to plug the hole with his second striker.
But all week as he has put his players through their paces in Malahide, the talk has been of a dedicated three-man central midfield unit staffed by specialists and with Glenn Whelan missing through injury, Keith Andrews, James McCarthy and either Fahey or David Meyler are likely to be asked to do that job.
Fahey said: "It might bring opportunity. In the summer, I dropped out and someone else came in. In football, someone's loss is someone else's gain, so maybe there will be opportunities for lads to step in and get a chance to play.
"Playing three against the quality of Germany is going to help the team be more solid.
"When we played Spain, the two lads, Keith and Glenn, put in a massive shift, but they still couldn't get near Spain with their quality.
"But playing a three in there will definitely help the team be more solid.
"But whatever way the manager decides to go, he has got personnel there who want to play and want to wear the green shirt. Everyone is willing to do whatever they are asked to do."
Memories of Russia's visit to Dublin in October 2010 remain fresh for those who witnessed a difficult evening, but Fahey is confident there will be no repeat this time around.
He said: "We played Russia at home in the last came and they took us a little bit by surprise. We were 3-0 down fairly quickly.
"But I don't think that will be happening again. We will be well prepared for this one.
"You have got to believe that you can get something out of the game. It's an old saying, but football is a funny old game, you don't know what's going to happen.
"But we will be hoping to get something out of the game, and why not win it? Why not?
"You have to believe. It's 11 v 11 - we are not playing 11 supermen."