How the Irish Fared: Keiren Westwood primed to capitalise on Shay Given woe

One man’s misfortune is another man’s fortune.
How the Irish Fared: Keiren Westwood primed to capitalise on Shay Given woe

Keiren Westwood will certainly hope that is the case should the groin injury suffered by Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given in Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City prove sufficiently serious to end the Donegal man’s hopes of playing in one last major tournament at the age of 40.

The goalkeeping position has been the area clouded by greatest uncertainty as the Euros draw near.

West Ham’s Darren Randolph appears to be in pole position but his lack of game-time at club level has to be a worry.

Rob Elliot looked Randolph’s biggest threat until an injury sustained in last month’s friendly against Slovakia ended his season.

When the same fate befell Stoke number one Jack Butland, the pendulum appear to swing in Given’s favour but his injury at the weekend represents a potentially devastating blow to his prospects.

Westwood might just be the main beneficiary.

Admittedly, he hasn’t played for Ireland since the friendly against England last June but he has enjoyed another fine season at club level with a Sheffield Wednesday side likely to claim the final play-off spot in the Championship.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Derby leaves the Owls four points clear of Cardiff with just two games to go.

Should Wednesday make it through a play-off semi-final, Westwood would get the chance to showcase his talents and prove his big-match temperament at Wembley.

Should he excel in that environment the case for him starting against Sweden on June 13 would be compelling.

Meanwhile, Mick McCarthy hopes Ipswich’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough on Saturday will help Brighton counterpart Chris Hughton reach the Premier League.

Ipswich are out of the running for promotion but, by holding Boro, they did Brighton a big favour.

Hughton’s men did their part too, winning 3-1 at Charlton to join Burnley and Boro on 87 points.

McCarthy said: “If I’ve done one person a favour it’s Chris Hughton, because he’s a mate and he’s such a wonderful guy. So Chris, that’s a point for you. I hope we’ve helped him get promoted.”

In League One, Chris McCann was among the scorers as Wigan beat Southend 4-1 to all but seal promotion to the Championship.

Graham Carey was the only Irish scorer in League Two but his effort came in a losing cause as promotion-chasing Plymouth lost 3-2 to relegated Dagenham & Redbridge.

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