Match-winner Lawrence out to stake claim
Liam Lawrence firmly put his name in the thoughts of Giovanni Trapattoni with last night's match-winning display against South Africa and admitted afterwards he's hoping it pushes him into contention for involvement in next month's crucial World Cup qualifier against Italy in Croke Park.
The Stoke City winger crowned a superb display on only his second appearance for Ireland by arcing a free-kick into the top corner of the net to earn his side a win in the friendly at Thomond Park.
"Hopefully, it's planted a seed in the manager's head for the massive games ahead. We have two huge World Cup matches next month against Italy and Montenegro and I would love to play a part," said the 27-year-old.
"I tried to get the ball into the box and get crosses in; luckily I got the goal so at least I might be in his mind.
"Set pieces are vital for any team. Liam Brady was saying before the game that four of our goals in the qualifying campaign so far have come from set pieces and it's a valuable weapon to have in the arsenal.
"I think I can offer something to Ireland on that front. I do it week in, week out for Stoke and it helps us with the club, so I don't see why it couldn't help Ireland.
"For me, it's about getting a chance, and when the team is doing well in the qualifiers, as is the case now, it's hard to break in. But this game was a chance for me to at least show I can play. I have good players ahead of me for the wide positions, we have some good wingers in the squad, the likes of (Aiden) McGeady, (Stephen) Hunt and Duffer , but I have to try and compete and get into the team."
In relation to his majestic goal on 37 minutes, Lawrence explained he'd rehearsed the set-piece the day previous in training at Thomond.
He said: "Funnily enough, the free kick was something I had worked on. We did it at training on Monday and the manager said before the game that if I fancied having a go, have a dig and luckily it worked out for me. During training, some of them were going wide and high over the bar but that one was sweet for me.
"It was a hard game for us as South Africa kept the ball well without hurting us or creating clear-cut chances. We had to be patient and wait for the ball to come for us. It was one of those games where sometimes you had to just let them have the ball, stay tight and defend well, which is what we did."