Paul McShane in pole position for place at the Euros
PAUL McSHANE will travel with Ireland to the Euro 2012 finals, with Giovanni Trapattoni indicating that he may wait until the last minute before deciding whether to draft the Hull defender into his squad.
The Wicklow native received an SOS call from management this week, and will start tomorrow's friendly with Bosnia due to the unavailability of Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, John O'Shea and Kevin Foley.
Trapattoni has confirmed that he will now bring McShane to Poland due to the concerns hanging over the other players, although it doesn't necessarily mean that he will be involved in the competition.
On Tuesday, the FAI must submit their chosen 23-man squad to UEFA. However, that doesn't prevent them from bringing 24 bodies to the training camp in Italy next week, the subsequent friendly with Hungary, and the initial preparations in Poland.
Until the morning of the June 10 opener with Croatia, they can make a change if a player is injured, subject to a UEFA doctor being satisfied that the problem is genuine.
Trapattoni has suggested that it might be a risk to bring a number of men with injury problems, and then ignore the claims of a man who is fully fit.
"Paul McShane is not injured," he stressed. "What if we play O'Shea and he has a knock and he must go home. McShane will stay with us."
Last night, O'Shea delivered a positive bulletin on his well-being. The Waterford man is recovering from an ankle problem he sustained in Sunderland's final game of the season against Manchester United.
Trapattoni said the 31-year-old was naïve to line out in the fixture when he had suffered a problem with the same ankle in the build-up, but O'Shea explained his side of the story.
"I've been called a lot worse than naïve," he said. "It was a game I wanted to play in because I'd missed the game earlier in the season against United. It just so happened I went over on it (the ankle) again. It's just one of those things and, hopefully, not too serious.
"I've been doing a lot of work with Ciaran Murray, the physio, over the last couple of days and doing a bit more ball work, so, fingers crossed, I'll be back training early next week."
Shay Given will also miss tomorrow's game after knee specialist Dr Andy Williams recommended resting until next Wednesday. With Dunne (abdominal injury), St Ledger (groin) and Foley (hamstring) sidelined, Trapattoni has just four defenders to choose from for the Lansdowne Road farewell.
Darren O'Dea and Stephen Ward will start at centre-half and left-full respectively. The Irish boss must decide which of McShane and Stephen Kelly are deployed alongside O'Dea, with the other set for the right-back slot.