Martin O’Neill could turn to Bohemians goalie for French trip

Martin O’Neill says he could turn to Bohemians stopper Shane Supple to alleviate his goalkeeping crisis.

Shorn of regular custodians Darren Randolph, Keiren Westwood, and Rob Elliot for the end-of-season friendlies, O’Neill handed the goalkeeping duties to Colin Doyle and newcomer Conor O’Malley during yesterday’s Scott Brown testimonial.

O’Neill, however, was impressed enough with Bohemians No 1 Supple in Friday night’s League of Ireland game against Dundalk to have him under consideration.

Ireland face France in Paris next Monday before hosting USA in Dublin five days later.

O’Neill’s assistant Roy Keane was Ipswich manager when Supple quit the game in 2009 but he returned to part-time football five years later with the Gypsies.

He is also an accomplished GAA goalkeeper, featuring for St Brigid’s in the All-Ireland Championship.

Since returning to work between the posts, Supple has flourished to the extent he spurned offers from a couple of title contenders to instead stay loyal and facilitate his wish to combine both codes.

“I thought that Supple looks imposing as goalkeeper,” said O’Neill after the 2-2 draw a Celtic Park. “He looked half-decent and it was also good for me to see players live.

“We’ve got the two goalkeepers at this minute and a couple who are injured, so I’ll have a think about that situation.

“Would he not have difficulty getting off work? Please, don’t get carried away as I might have (Gigi) Buffon ready for it.”

On a serious side, O’Neill will need a third goalkeeper on the trip to Paris to Saturday and former Ireland U21 custodian Supple will likely relish the offer were it to materialise.

O’Neill, meanwhile, insists he has no issues with Northern Ireland enlisting the services of former Ireland underage players Sean Scannell and Niall Keown.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill confirmed the pair were in the process of switching allegiance.

The younger of the O’Neills had proposed striking an accord between the two associations whereby there would be no poaching up to a certain age-level.

“If players think they can go and that they have the wherewithal and the enthusiasm to change, then that is fine,” he said. “It is topical and Keown has also declared so it seems to be going in the other direction. The agreement should be two-sided. It is somewhat ironic.”

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