Darragh Lenihan may have missed out on a national team call-up, but the Rovers defender isn’t short of commitments this summer.

Lenihan was a surprise omission from Mick McCarthy’s squad for games against Denmark and Gibraltar next month.

However, that at least ensured him the opportunity to plan for a big summer of his own which had been on hold because of any possible international involvement.

The 25-year-old will get married this summer, and admits his honeymoon plans hadn’t been finalised in case he received what would have been a fourth call-up to his squad.

Even despite his upcoming schedule, Lenihan knows the importance of working hard in the summer months.

He is entering the prime years of his career and expressed his pride last month when taking the armband for the win over Bolton last month, the first time he had captained the club who gave him his chance in the professional game.

And he says the importance of hard work in the close season can be felt throughout the course of a tough 46 game season.

“You’re not just a footballer now, you’re an athlete, and that’s the big difference from many years ago and you have to live your life like you’re an athlete,” he said.

“I’m sure that if you don’t live your life right then you’ll be found out.”

A big presence on the pitch, one Rovers missed during his eight game absence in February and March which coincided with their downturn in form, Lenihan is quietly spoken off it.

A player who doesn’t crave the spotlight, Lenihan is focused on carving out the best possible career for himself.

And boss Tony Mowbray feels the defender can go as far as he wants, believing Rovers need to show Lenihan signs of their progress, or inevitably come to lose one of their most valuable assets.

On his life off the pitch, Lenihan added.“I think it’s the way you’re brought up.

“I’m from a family of five and we’ve always looked out for each other, led a low-key life.

“I’ve always looked after myself, it’s a hectic schedule, you play 46 games a season.

“I don’t know how many are Saturday and then Tuesday, but when you’re not playing or training you need to be resting.

“There are times you go out, but it’s not a regular occurrence.

“Looking after yourself is a huge part of things.”

When he won the first of his two Ireland caps against the USA last June. In doing so, Dunboyne-born Lenihan became the first player from Meath to earn a senior cap.

He arrived at Rovers from Belvedere eight years ago, aged 16, and after initial difficulty settling in, has developed in to a regular in Rovers’ back four.

Injuries haven’t been kind, not least last season where he first six months of option with an ankle injury sustained on the opening day at Southend United. But having ended the season strong, Lenihan is excited by the future, but credits his  rise to his family.

“My brother played for the local Gaelic team, the equivalent of Lancashire county, County Mead where I’m from,” he added.

“My brothers got me kicking a ball when I was two or three so I was their little prodigy as a young lad so always had that advantage.

“They have been brilliant with me and they were my first influence to make sure I was ready.”

Lenihan leading Rovers out against Wanderers on Easter Monday was a proud day for him, but also everyone involved with the Academy.

He had trials at the club before being offered a contract, but back trouble stunted his development somewhat.

And it wasn’t until his early 20s, after a spell on loan in League Two with Burton Albion, that Lenihan got his chance in the first team.

His development has taken him from central midfield to central defence, and he admits his path hasn’t been the smoothest.

“You don’t see the hard days that people have, or the hard things people come across, and I’m sure young lads coming through the Academy will have difficult days but it’s in those moments that make your character.

“It’s about how you respond and I tell all the young lads to keep believing in yourself and never give up.”