From the Newsroom

Irish Independent sports news editor and Hammers fan Shane Scanlon on Darren Randolph’s rise to prominence for his home country...
According to celebrated spy novelist Tom Clancy, an overnight success is ‘Ten years in the making’ and I don't think Darren Randolph would disagree much.

Randolph is living proof that patience does have its reward and, having being an integral part of football history at the Boleyn Ground over the past year, fans on this side of the Irish Sea are hoping their No1 goalkeeper can write more of his own in the immediate future.

The 29-year-old headed to France as the first West Ham United player to line out for the Republic of Ireland at a European Championship finals and buoyed by a season full of landmarks, the Bray, County Wicklow native will be determined to leave his own imprint on Euro 2016.

Randolph is a fine example to all young players – especially goalkeepers – that no matter what type of knocks you suffer early in your career, you must get back up and work hard to achieve your goals.

The son of an American collegiate basketball star who came to Ireland during the 1980s to play basketball professionally (Ed Randolph), Martin O'Neill's recently-promoted No1 actually became a goalkeeper almost as an afterthought. Having played basketball for Ireland throughout his mid-teens as well as Gaelic Football in Wicklow, the 6’2” powerhouse soon accepted that he would not be tall enough to realise his NBA dream and changed his focus.
For Ireland supporters, however, it's not his saves but a goal assist that has, so far, proved the stand-out moment
He was 16 when he agreed to head for England sign for Charlton and following a few loan spells – at Welling United, Accrington Stanley, and Gillingham – he made his Premier League debut the day after this 20th birthday at Anfield in May 2007. He performed well in a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, but Charlton were already relegated, and he would wait more than eight years for his second Premier League appearance.

In the interim, his journey took him to the lower leagues with Bury and Hereford United but it was a free transfer to Motherwell which ultimately proved the making of him. A solid three years north of the border, in which he set a clean-sheet record for the Scottish club, earned him a senior Ireland debut under Giovanni Trapattoni in a 4-1 friendly win over Oman in London in September 2012.

From there, he joined Birmingham City in 2013 before West Ham came calling last summer. It has proved a fruitful move for the player, and for club and country.

He made his Premier League return last August, against Bournemouth, and while he has played understudy to the ever-consistent Adrian, he has clearly benefited from the Spaniard's expert tutelage. His superb displays for the Irons in a FA Cup run to the quarter-finals earned plenty of plaudits – his man-of-the-match performance which saw him deny Liverpool in Anfield proving the highlight.

For Ireland supporters, however, it's not his saves but a goal assist that has, so far, proved the stand-out moment.

When Germany visited Dublin last October, O'Neill started Shay Given against the world champions, but when the veteran 'keeper came off injured at the end of the first half, the manager – to the surprise of many – turned to Randolph as his replacement. He instantly rewarded that faith with good stops to deny Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller, before his shrewd punt upfield was seized upon by Shane Long who raced clear and fired to the net to give Ireland a famous victory.

It might not have been a typical Dmitri Payet or Mark Noble assist, but it showed he's clearly learning from his West Ham midfield colleagues – if he continues to do so in a green shirt, expect more Ireland supporters to make the journey to see him in action at the Hammers’ new Stadium.