Numerous injury headaches for Martin O’Neill ahead of Bosnia showdowns

Martin O’Neill has a number of injury headaches to contend with as the Irish squad assemble in Dublin today ahead of Friday’s first leg of their European Championship play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica.
Numerous injury headaches for Martin O’Neill ahead of Bosnia showdowns

According to the FAI, Rob Elliot, John O’Shea, Paul McShane, Alan Judge, and Shane Long will all be assessed by their respective clubs before reporting for international duty, with goalkeeper Shay Given and striker David McGoldrick already definitely ruled out through injury.

Despite hopes earlier in the week that he was over a hamstring problem, O’Shea suffered a setback on Saturday morning and failed to make the cut for Sunderland’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton, following which manager Sam Allardyce gave a bleak prognosis of the player’s chances of being able to feature in the Dublin leg of the play-off.

“No, I don’t think so, but he will be talking to them,” said the Sunderland manager. “I wouldn’t have thought that, with the recurrence in his hamstring, he wouldn’t be anywhere near available.

“He’s not been able to get fit for us in two weeks, so he’s not going to get fit with a hamstring in 10 days. Sadly for us, he was missing and sadly for them.

“He got through training all right and was selected to play, but felt it on Saturday morning, so we took him out.”

Along with Jonathan Walters, O’Shea was already suspended for the first leg in Bosnia following his sending-off in the final group game against Poland in Warsaw.

Long is still in a race against time to be fit and, with the striker a serious doubt with an ankle injury, Martin O’Neill will have been pleased to see Daryl Murphy break his duck for Ipswich this season in spectacular style as he grabbed a hat-trick in a 5-2 thrashing of Rotherham.

Elliot turned in a man-of-the-match performance in Newcastle’s smash-and-grab victory at Bournemouth. But Steve McClaren revealed afterwards that his goalkeeper played through the pain barrier and played down his chances of linking up with Ireland.

Both O’Neill and Roy Keane attended yesterday’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva Stadium where they saw Dundalk beat Cork City 1-0, shortly before it was announced that O’Neill had trimmed his provisional Ireland squad of 39 down to 30.

Along with the injured Given and McGoldrick, the other players to miss the cut are Greg Cunningham, Paul Green, Eunan O’Kane, Simon Cox, Anthony Stokes, Anthony Pilkington and Adam Rooney.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD:

David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United). Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Blackburn Rovers), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Paul McShane (Reading), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Robbie Brady (Norwich City), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Darron Gibson (Everton), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Aiden McGeady (Everton), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Judge (Brentford), David Meyler (Hull City), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids).

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