Chadwell Chatter - Darren Randolph

Darren Randolph blogs about Ireland's triumphs and his first derby with Tottenham Hotspur

I hope you are looking forward to our encounter with Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, as it’ll be my first taste of this particular London derby, I certainly am!

Talking to the lads who have been here for a while, you can tell how important it is to everyone at the Club.

There’s a special atmosphere around the training ground whenever the big games come round and I am confident we will more than rise to the occasion.

Going back to the international break, it was clearly a very special moment for me personally. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that helping the boys to qualify for the European Championships next summer is my career highlight.

I owe a lot to everyone at West Ham United who has helped me since I joined, I truly believe I wouldn’t have been given my opportunity at international level if I hadn’t made the step up to the Premier League.

It’s always been a dream of mine to play at a major international tournament; I remember watching the Euros and World Cups at home, so I am delighted to be going to France next summer.

As you can imagine, Ginge is buzzing about the idea too!

Having progressed through the play offs we’re in the lowest pot so we’re going to get a difficult group.

I haven’t really had time to look at the potential combination of teams we might get but they’re all going to be good teams and we’ll look forward to playing whoever we’re drawn against.

Last Monday, it was a great atmosphere; it was the loudest the Aviva have been for a while, if at all. The noise levels kept on going up and up, it was amazing.

We knew we had to keep it tight, focus on our jobs and that’s exactly what happened. We got an early goal which helped massively.

At the final whistle, Martin O’Neil didn’t have much of an opportunity to say much afterwards because of the celebrations. To be fair, everyone had to return to their Clubs pretty quickly so nothing got out of hand but it was a nice moment. Once that had calmed down a bit he just said welcome and congratulated everyone.

It’s definitely the highlight of my career so far, qualifying for the European Championships; it doesn’t get much better than that.