Belfast Telegraph

Dallas: Euro vision can come true

By Graham Luney

Stuart Dallas says he's starting to feel he could be part of something special as Northern Ireland close in on the Euro 2016 finals.

The Brentford ace won his first full international cap in nearly four years with an impressive display against Scotland in March and his reward was a substitute appearance in the memorable win over Finland which leaves Michael O'Neill's side just a point behind Group F leaders Romania who visit Windsor Park next month.

Crusaders' old boy has seen his progress on the international stage curtailed by injuries but now he's very much in O'Neill's thoughts, the Coagh man is determined to seize every golden opportunity that comes his way.

Now a friendly against Qatar at Crewe's Gresty Road stadium tomorrow (5pm) represents another chance for the 24-year-old to showcase his talent.

"I watched the first few games on the television and I was really delighted for the lads," said Dallas who helped the Crues win the Setanta Cup in 2012.

"It was disappointing when I wasn't able to join up with the squad because of injuries but as soon as I was able to join them, they made me feel a part of the group straight away.

"Everyone is made to feel welcome and we have a great mixture of experienced players and young lads who are just starting out in their international careers.

"All the older lads know exactly what it was like when they first came into the squad so they are able to put you at ease.

"Before I met up with the squad I thought we had a good chance of qualifying for Euro 2016.

"Now that I am involved and can see the lads up close in training and in games, I am convinced we can make it to France."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called for tomorrow's friendly match to be used to pressure the Qatari government into improving conditions and rights of the country's 1.6m migrant workers, including the "thousands involved in building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup".

Although Amnesty believes the match should be played, the human rights group wants it to be part of a wider focus on Qatar's continuing abuse of foreign workers in the nation.

"We don't advocate the cancellation or boycotting of games like this," Amnesty spokesperson Neil Durkin said.

"Instead, we want to see everyone concerned using fixtures like this one as an opportunity to maintain pressure on the Qatari authorities to improve the conditions and rights of the 1.6m migrant workers in Qatar, including thousands of workers involved in building the infrastructure for 2022."

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