The European Championship Finals get underway on Friday June 10 and for one man in particular, this promises to be a summer that he will never forget.
Darren Randolph has enjoyed a memorable first full season in the Premier League with West Ham United following his move from Birmingham last summer.
The 29-year-old played a major role in helping the Hammers reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup and showed his quality when he was called upon to play in the Premier League.
Randolph was also instrumental in helping the Republic of Ireland qualify for the Euro Finals in France when he replaced Shay Given against Germany and helped set up the only goal of the game when his long kick picked out Shane Long and he produced a sublime finish to help his country record a famous victory and reach the play-offs where they beat Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The talented keeper is now making his final preparations ahead of Ireland's opening game against Sweden on June 13 and hopes to reach the latter stages of the competition....
Darren, this is one of the biggest summers of your career. How excited are you at the prospect of playing at the Euro Finals and participating in such a showpiece event?
DR: “The tournament has certainly crept up on us but I am really looking forward to the tournament and cannot wait for it to get underway.”
It was obviously a memorable qualifying campaign. Do you still watch back the famous victory over Germany and realise the amazing job you have achieved?
DR: “I still get sent little clips and links to the Germany game and the play-off win over Bosnia.
“I have watched them a few time – especially the Germany game. We should all take a lot of pride from the way we performed that night.
“We were fourth in the group with four games to go and everybody had written us off. But we managed to come back and qualified through the play-offs so we should all be proud of what we achieved.”
You have been drawn in the same group as Sweden, Belgium and Italy. It could certainly have been a lot easier for you but how do you view the three games and what you will need to qualify
DR: “It is a very tough group. But you want to go to these tournaments and play against the best teams.
“Of course you would prefer not to have play them all in the group stages but it will be a good test for us.
“We play Sweden in the first game and if we can come away with a good result then anything is possible after that. We should all be looking forward to it.”
Do you fancy your chances of making it past the group stages?
DR: “Why not. We have to be confident and it is one of the competitions that any player wants to be a part of.
“Considering I missed out on the last one I cannot wait to experience the whole tournament and look forward to seeing all the Ireland fans out in France.”
Do you see similarities between the West Ham team and the Republic of Ireland team in terms of the team spirit?
DR: “I see a lot of similarities. We can have a good laugh together but when it comes to the serious stuff and we train and play, everyone gets their head down and we are hard working group and everyone gets their head down.”
We have also got James Collins going away with Wales and Dimitri Payet being part of the France squad. Will you keep a close eye on how your team-mates are getting on during the tournament?
DR: “I will definitely keep an eye on what they are doing. I am not sure how far away they are staying but all three of us will be busy and I will try and keep in close contact with them.
“I will certainly be watching their progress but I hope we can go further than everyone and can have something to brag about!”