Robbie Keane has been included in Ireland’s squad of 23 for the European Championship finals despite a calf injury having ruled him out of the match against Belarus at Turner’s Cross.
James McCarthy, as expected, also makes the cut, though his hamstring problem saw him miss both of the squad’s farewell friendlies in Dublin and Cork.
But, at the other end of the caps scale, there was heartbreak for Harry Arter after a thigh injury picked up in training on Monday ruled the Bournemouth midfielder out of the finals. The player was said to be distraught on leaving the camp to return to his home in England.
And there was bitter disappointment too for David Forde who loses out to the inform Keiren Westwood.
Meanwhile, there was a bit of an edge in the disappointment expressed by Kevin Doyle, who also misses out, when he tweeted from America: “Team day hiking up the Rockies with Colorado Rapids: would’ve preferred a day out in Turners Cross.”
Said Martin O’Neill of the difficult decision to leave out Galwayman Forde: “He kept us in the game in Germany and we got that great point which was hugely significant in our qualification. He’s been great around the place as well and that decision was very difficult because he’s been excellent. It’s just his lack of game time recently at Millwall obviously hasn’t helped, but that was disappointing.”
Offering an injury update last night, the manager said: “James did some work today and he’s improving, which is good news. Robbie didn’t do any work but we didn’t expect him to. Robbie’s very, very hopeful anyway that he’ll make it and should be ok. If not for the first game then for the matches after that.”
O’Neill also revealed that he spoke privately to the players he was going to leave out after the 1-2 defeat to Belarus in Turner’s Cross.
“Yeah of course, that’s the way I’d like to have been told rather than told by text or something. It’s not easy obviously because someone is going to be disappointed and the minute you have more than 23 in your squad anyway, players are going to be left out.”
While there was elation for the France-bound David Meyler and Stephen Quinn, there was disappointment for Darron Gibson and David McGoldrick.
There still remains the possibility that the named squad will not be the final word on the matter since European Championship rules allow for the replacement of an injured or ill player – but only after independent assessment of his condition by UEFA — between now and the eve of the Ireland’s first game against Sweden at the Stade de France on June 13 Martin O’Neill had originally planned to unveil his Euros squad last Saturday, the day after the long-scheduled friendly against the Netherlands.
But, Irish involvement in the club play-offs in England, the always fluid injury situation within the squad and, crucially, the addition to Ireland’s tournament build-up of the extra game against Belarus, meant that the manager made the decision to wait until almost the last possible moment before submitting his list just ahead of UEFA’s 11pm deadline.
For those who’ve been given the nod, Fota Island will be their base until Friday, following which they will be allowed next weekend off, before reconvening for two further training sessions in Dublin on Monday and Tuesday.
The following day, Wednesday June 8, the squad will fly to France to take up residence in their Versailles tournament base ahead of their three Group E games, in Paris, Bordeaux and Lille against, respectively, Sweden, Belgium and Italy.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND EURO 2016 SQUAD
Darren Randolph, Shay Given, Keiren Westwood.
Seamus Coleman, Cyrus Christie, John O’Shea, Ciaran Clark, Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh, Robbie Brady, Stephen Ward.
Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, Wes Hoolahan, James McClean, Aiden McGeady, Stephen Quinn, David Meyler.
Shane Long, Jon Walters, Daryl Murphy, Robbie Keane
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