O’Neill mulls over Republic calls

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill with David Forde and David Meyler

David Forde and David Meyler will both hope for good news from Martin O’Neill

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Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland Euro 2016 squad will have a number of tight calls when it is revealed after Tuesday’s friendly against Belarus.

Up to five of the 23 slots seem up for grabs including a keeper tussle between David Forde and Keiren Westwood.

Hull’s David Meyler will hope his versatility sways manager O’Neill.

Midfielders Harry Arter, Eunan O’Kane and Stephen Quinn will be anxious with Ipswich strikers Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick maybe battling for one role.


Robbie Keane is expected to be named in the Republic’s 23-man Euro 2016 squad despite losing his regular starting role

Keane set to feature in Belarus game

With Shane Long having established himself as Ireland’s main striker, there have been whispers that the place of the Republic’s all-time leading goalscorer Robbie Keane could be under threat.

But while O’Neill may have given the issue some thought, it would be a huge surprise if the 143-cap LA Galaxy striker is left out.

Keane wasn’t involved in Friday’s draw against the Netherlands but manager O’Neill has confirmed the 35-year-old will feature in Tuesday’s final audition at Turner’s Cross in Cork.

O’Neill has indicated Ipswich forward Murphy will start against Belarus and the 33-year-old looks likely to be on the plane to France despite not having scored in his 20 caps.

Ciaran Clark could feature in Cork after being troubled by a minor Achilles injury, but regular starter James McCarthy is unlikely to be risked in Tuesday’s game as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

McGeady set to be be on plane to France

Aiden McGeady’s lack of recent football, despite his loan move to Sheffield Wednesday, has been a concern for O’Neill but the manager’s utterances last week suggested the out-of-favour Everton winger will be on the plane to France.

Sheffield Wednesday keeper Westwood produced another impressive performance in his club’s Championship play-off defeat by Hull on Saturday, when Meyler featured as a late substitute.

However, Westwood has not featured for the Republic since the draw against England 12 months ago with Darren Randolph and Shay Given sharing the jersey since then.

Hull player Meyler performed heroically as an emergency right-back when the Irish grabbed an unlikely 1-1 qualifying draw in Germany 19 months ago, but Cyrus Christie is now established as Seamus Coleman’s full-back understudy.


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Harry Arter hopes to be in the Republic of Ireland squad

Arter impressive against the Dutch

Bournemouth midfielder Arter looked to do his selection prospects a power of good with a lively display against the Dutch which could leave Reading’s Stephen Quinn under pressure despite his regular appearances in qualifying.

Arter’s Bournemouth club-mate O’Kane has pushed himself into contention in recent months but it remains to be seen whether he has done enough to get the nod from O’Neill.

With Marc Wilson ruled out by injury, O’Kane’s fellow county Derry native Shane Duffy is likely to be picked as centre-back cover, with set-piece prowess in attack, also part of his armoury.

Darron Gibson looks an outsider after being out of favour at Everton all season while veteran striker Kevin Doyle may also miss out.



Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham), Shay Given (Stoke)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Richard Keogh (Derby County), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Robbie Brady (Norwich)

Midfielders: James McClean (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich)

Forwards: Jon Walters (Stoke), Shane Long (Southampton)


Goalkeeper: David Forde (Millwall) or Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Derby), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Shane Duffy (Blackburn)

Midfielders: Aidan McGeady (Everton), Harry Arter (Bournemouth)

Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich)


Midfielders: Stephen Quinn (Reading), Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth), David Meyler (Hull City)

Forwards: David McGoldrick (Ipswich), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids)


Defenders: Paul McShane (Reading), Alex Pearce (Derby County)

Midfielders: Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City), Darron Gibson (Everton), Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen), Callum O’Dowda (Oxford United)

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