Martin O'Neill confirms Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke will play two games in less than 24 hours
MARTIN O'Neill has confirmed that Shamrock Rovers man Graham Burke will get to play for club and country in the space of less than 24 hours this weekend.
Burke was called up to the senior Ireland squad for a three-game series of matches, beginning with Sunday's Scott Brown testimonial, against Celtic, in Glasgow. Rovers are in action the previous night, away to Sligo Rovers, but the Ireland boss has made an arrangement with Hoops boss Stephen Bradley to allow him play in both.
"It's small beginnings," O'Neill said of Burke on Friday morning, speaking in Cork at the launch of the FAI's Festival of Football around their AGM in Cork.
"It's good and hopefully he will get a chance, he is going to play for Shamrock Rovers on Saturday and he will join us on Sunday for the game.
"I thought he did very well in the game where I went to see him [Cork City]. Sometimes when players come back from England they might think their careers are over, but they can get a new lease of life in the game, get started again, get a bit of encouragment from their coaches, which is important, get a bit of self-belief and charge their way back again. He will play on Saturday and travel on Sunday," added O'Neill.
He also offered his backing to Ireland's U17 side in the wake of their controversial defeat to Holland in the quarter-finals of the European Championship finals, O'Neill going onto the field of play in Chesterfield at the end of Tuesday's defeat.
"I have just been told that Holland beat England on penalties last night and the Dutch goalkeeper was three yards off his line when he made the crucial save. There must be a bit of injustice somewhere," said the Ireland manager.
"If you look at the U17 team their efforts against Holland were terrific, even getting there in the first place. They had the defeat in the first game, then fighting back in the other two matches and going out in such controversial circumstances but things augur well, it can only be good news."