Cork City goalkeepers Mark McNulty and Alan Smith are literally lending a helping hand to the Irish cause.
In the temporary absence of the four goalkeepers named in Martin O’Neill’s provisional squad for the upcoming friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay and the World Cup qualifier against Austria, the Turner’s Cross netminders will step into the breach today as an Irish training squad, comprised of Championship players, continues its work at their Fota Island base.
Goalkeepers Colin Doyle and Keiren Westwood, who were both involved in play-off games at the weekend, as well as Darren Randolph and the returning Rob Elliot, are due to report into camp next week along with other senior players, though it’s not yet clear which ones will fly out to the United States on Monday for the game against Mexico in New Jersey on June 1.
West Ham teenager Declan Rice is the latest call-up to the senior squad, Ireland clearly looking to secure the allegiance of a highly rated young player who also qualifies for England.
The 18-year-old defender/midfielder, Ireland’s U17 Player of the Year for 2016, came off the bench to make his senior debut for West Ham in their 2-1 Premier League victory over Burnley on Sunday.
Rice joins his fellow new call-ups, the Cork duo of Alan Browne and Kevin Long, at the training camp in Fota.
Austria coach Marcel Koller has banished Andreas Ulmer from the national set-up after the Red Bull Salzburg defender set his wedding date for a few days before the match in Dublin.
“That’s very unfortunate planning,” said Koller. “Playing for the national team obviously has no priority for him.”
Koller also issued a rallying cry ahead of a must-win game for Austria. “This is a public call to the players for what is a damnimportant game: we have to be ready and focused from the first minute of the camp,” he said.
“It’s important that everyone thinks about what they want, and if they want to be part of the national team. There is only one option – being at full throttle for Austria.”
The Austrians will be without three players who featured, either from the start or as subs, in the 0-1 defeat to the Irish in Vienna. The suspended Marko Arnautovic is the biggest absentee, while Stefan Ilsanker is also suspended and Alessandro Schoepf misses out with a knee injury.
AUSTRIA SQUAD: Goalkeepers:
D Bachmann (Stoke), H Lindner (Frankfurt), M Kuster (Mattersburg). Defenders:
K Danso (Augsburg), A Dragovic (Leverkusen), M Hinteregger (Augsburg), S Lainer (Salzburg), V Lazaro (Salzburg), S Proedl (Watford), S Stangl (Salzburg), K Wimmer (Tottenham). Midfielders:
D Alaba (Bayern Munich), J Baumgartlinger (Leverkusen), F Grillitsch (Bremen), M Harnik (Hannover), Z Junuzovic (Bremen), F Kainz (Bremen), K Laimer (Salzburg), M Sabitzer (Leipzig), L Schaub (Rapid Vienna). Forwards:
G Burgstaller (Schalke), M Gregoritsch (Hamburg), M Janko (FC Basel).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND training squad:
M McNulty, A Smith (Cork City), C Christie, A Pearce, R Keogh (Derby County), S Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), A Boyle (Preston North End), K Long (Burnley) D Rice (West Ham United), J Egan (Brentford), E O’Kane (Leeds United), A Browne, D Horgan (Preston North End), C Hourihane (Aston Villa), W Hoolahan (Norwich City), S Gleeson (Birmingham City), C O’Dowda (Bristol City), D McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), D Murphy (Newcastle United).
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