Kilbane raring to start EURO 2012 qualifiers

Kilbane raring to start EURO 2012 qualifiers

Kevin Kilbane is energised by the challenge of Championship football ...
1st Sep 2010


It may the start of his eight qualifying campaign but the appetite to succeed remains as strong for the evergreen Kevin Kilbane



The Republic of Ireland's joint record caps holder has been a permanent fixture in the senior set-up since making his debut against Iceland in 1997 under Mick McCarthy.



The Hull City player has the World Cup finals appearance of 2002 in his portfolio but the 33-year-old is relishing the prospect of challenging for European Championship qualification when the quest kicks off in Yerevan against Armenia on Friday (4pm, Irish time).



He said: "I feel fresh, sharp and really up for it. The last campaign gave us real belief we can go on and qualify for these European Championships.



"It's going to be a hostile atmosphere there on Friday with Armenia having a real good support and if we're not quite at it, we could get turned over.



"However, we're going there to win and if we played like we did in last campaign, we've a real chance of getting good start.



"Six points is something we can achieve from the Armenia and Andorra games over the next week. Sometimes at this early stage of the season, players can be below peak fitness levels but everyone's raring to go for the start of the campaign and that will see us through Friday once we approach the game in the proper manner."



Kilbane admits he did consider calling time on his glittering international career in the aftermath of last November's World Cup exit at the hands of France in the play-off but is determined to continue helping the Irish cause.



He said: "I did speak to some people about it and the advice given was that if the manager doesn't pick you, he's going to retire you himself.



"He has picked me and I just want to be in around this squad. You never know what's around the corner with injuries but hopefully I can stay around and see us to another tournament.



"It's a big blow losing the injured Damien Duff for this match because he's one of our match-winners but we're going there in confident mood."