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No surprises in Ireland squad

Published 21/08/2014 | 12:21

Martin O'Neill's initial 36-man squad will be whittled down ahead of the opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia on September 7
Martin O'Neill's initial 36-man squad will be whittled down ahead of the opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia on September 7

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill sprang no surprises when he named a provisional squad for his first competitive game.

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O'Neill's initial 36-man party will be whittled down ahead of the opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia on September 7, with a friendly against Oman in Dublin four days earlier handing him a final chance to assess his options.

He said: "I have had the opportunity to work with the players since last November, and we are well prepared as we embark upon the first of our qualifiers next month.

"Oman will provide a good test to start our trip before we travel to Tbilisi. We are focused on the task in hand, and look forward to the challenges ahead of us."

There are no uncapped players in O'Neill's latest squad, but he will be without veteran defender Richard Dunne, who announced his retirement from international football during the summer.

The party includes former first-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who has returned to club action after joining Sheffield Wednesday following his release by Sunderland at the end of the last campaign.

O'Neill has confirmed that Los Angeles Galaxy striker Robbie Keane will remain his captain.

Ireland, who failed to qualify for last summer's World Cup finals when they finished fourth in their group behind Germany, Sweden and Austria, have been handed a tough challenge once again this time around.

They have been drawn in Group D with the Germans, the new world champions, Scotland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar.

They made it to the finals of the last European Championships in Poland and Ukraine in 2012, but lost all three group games as they embarked upon a downward spiral which ultimately cost then manager Giovanni Trapattoni his job.

O'Neill, assisted by Roy Keane, took over in November last year and his seven friendly matches to date have brought one win, three draws and three defeats, although the manager deliberately chose challenging opposition - Turkey, Italy, Costa Rica and Portugal - for the end-of-season programme.

Squad: David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (Birmingham), Rob Elliot (Newcastle), Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce, Stephen Kelly (both Reading), Paul McShane (Hull), Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Joey O'Brien (West Ham), Shane Duffy, James McCarthy (both Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest), Aiden McGeady (Everton), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), James McClean (Wigan), Robbie Brady, Stephen Quinn, David Meyler (all Hull), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Robbie Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich), Jon Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), Simon Cox (Reading), Conor Sammon (Ipswich).

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