Boost for O’Neill as Brady escapes sanction

Ireland’s prospects of reaching the World Cup in Russia were boosted yesterday after Robbie Brady was cleared to play in next month’s play-offs.

It’s been an anxious few days for Brady after Fifa opted to investigate an incident involving the Burnley man and Wales defender Ashley Williams shortly after James McClean’s match-winning strike secured a play-off spot for Martin O’Neill’s men.

Video footage showed Brady being pushed to the ground by Williams before getting up and moving his head towards the defenders back as he ran past him.

As a consequence, there was a worry that the 25-year-old might miss one or both of Ireland’s upcoming games.

However, having analysed the incident, Fifa yesterday decided that no action should be taken and Brady will be available for selection.

Yesterday brought further good news for O’Neill as Burnley manager Sean Dyche said Jon Walters might yet be available for the clash against one of Italy, Denmark, Croatia or Switzerland.

It was thought there was no possibility of Walters, who has been struggling with a knee injury, taking part in the double-header but Dyche yesterday offered a glimmer of hope.

Assessing the forward’s recovery Dyche said: “We are still not putting timescales on it. But it won’t be days, it will be weeks.

“We are hopeful it will settle down quickly. It already is.

“We were getting a specialist’s view of it, it needed a period to calm down.

“It’s a historical injury, a wear-and-tear injury and needed time to calm down.

“Once it has settled down, it’s getting strength through the knee and that’s where we are at.”

Meanwhile the FAI yesterday announced ticket details for the play-off double-header.

Tickets for the home leg, priced from €30 for adults and €20 for kids (excluding booking fees), will go on public sale at 11am today week.

Ireland’s opponents will be decided next Tuesday while the dates for the first and second legs, which will be confirmed after the draw, are 9-11 and 12-14 November respectively.

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