Sunday 21 January 2018

Martin O'Neill reveals why he didn't call up any of Dundalk's European heroes in his latest squad

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill announced his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova with injury news dominating the day.

Striker Daryl Murphy, who headed the crucial equaliser against Serbia in the opening game of the campaign has been ruled out along with midfielders Stephen Quinn and Aiden McGeady.

Another piece of worrying news is the injury concerns surrounding Harry Arter, who has excelled for Bournemouth in the Premier League, with the midfielder currently suffering from a groin problem.

Besides that, one question put to O'Neill was why he didn't rewarded any Dundalk players with a call-up after their famous victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv and their draw with AZ Alkmaar.

O'Neill was quick to heap praise on the players after their heroics.

"I thought their performance against BATE Borisov was really immense," O'Neill told the media.

"This [their Europa League exploits], if anything, surpassed it. Really great effort, deserved to win the game and they've been carrying the flag for some considerable time. It gives the whole league a boost.

"They deserve great credit, and play. It's great to see."

Stephen Kenny's men added another fixture to their already congested schedule yesterday after drawing the FAI Cup semi-final with Derry, and O'Neill used their massive amount of forthcoming games as the reason why he hadn't considered Dundalk's star players for selection.

"If they've got 10 minutes to spare I'd pick the whole lot of them, they've only got 15 games in the next 2 days," O'Neill joked.

"They have a replay tomorrow, don't they? (Tuesday night v Derry) Efforts are fantastic and this is the whole point. There's one or two who could easily be in our squad but games they've had, I'd leave it now and see how things develop. A couple of them have been absolutely astonishing."

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