Wednesday 18 October 2017

John O'Shea and Shane Long return to training in massive play-off boost to Martin O'Neill

Damian Spellman

John O'Shea and Shane Long handed Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill a major boost when they returned to training ahead of Monday night's Euro 2016 showdown with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The pair, who missed the first leg in Zenica on Friday through a combination of injury and suspension, were involved in the warm-up on Sunday morning in Abbotstown before the closed section of the session got under way.

They were joined by striker Jonathan Walters, who like O'Shea, was suspended for the 1-1 draw at the Bilino Polje Stadium.

Daryl Murphy, who led the line in Long's absence in the first leg, was the only man to sit out the warm-up.

O'Neill will hope Sunderland defender O'Shea, who has not played since damaging a hamstring in the Wear-Tyne derby on October 25, and Southampton striker Long, who limped out of the 2-1 defeat in Poland on October 11 with a foot problem, are both available as the campaign draws to a close at the Aviva Stadium.

Robbie Brady's strike in Bosnia handed the Republic a precious away goal, meaning a 0-0 draw or any victory will be enough to book a trip to France next summer.

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