James McCarthy celebrates with Leighton Baines after scoring the first goal for Everton
Robbie Keane has been included in the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad despite having a calf injury, with the manager Martin O’Neill instead choosing to omit David McGoldrick even though the Ipswich striker impressed in last week’s friendly against Holland.
McGoldrick’s club-mate Daryl Murphy is included, though, despite failing again to open his international account in his 21st appearance, Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat against Belarus in Cork.
There is also a place for the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who has been picked instead of David Forde of Millwall, while the inexperienced young winger Callum O’Dowda and Darron Gibson, who struggled during the 2-1 defeat by Belarus, have also been cut from the list.
“I told them in person,” O’Neill said. “It was better than being by text. It’s not easy obviously, because someone is going to be disappointed. Players were going to be left out but I think they accepted it. Other international managers have had to make the decisions in the past couple of days. It’s my job.”
On Forde’s omission, the manager added: “It was difficult because he has been excellent for us but he hasn’t had much game time at Millwall recently. That didn’t help.”
Harry Arter returned to England after scans on Monday showed a tear in a thigh muscle but the Bournemouth midfielder will remain on standby should James McCarthy suffer a reaction to the hamstring injury that has troubled him for the past fortnight.
McCarthy and Keane both underwent a light training session before the Belarus game. “Robbie is very hopeful that he will make it,” O’Neill said after the final whistle. “He should be OK, if not for the first game then maybe the matches after that. I’m guided by my doctor and Robbie, who is a good healer. James is showing an improvement, which is good news and we will see how he goes. He is a fit lad but hasn’t played in a fortnight.”
Ireland squad for Euro 2016
Goalkeepers: Randolph, Given, Westwood.
Defenders: Coleman, O’Shea, Duffy, Ward, Christie, Keogh, Clark, Brady.
Midfielders: McGeady, Whelan, McCarthy, McClean, Hendrick, Quinn, Meyler, Hoolahan.
Strikers: Walters, Keane, Long, Murphy.
This article was written by Alan Smith in Cork, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st May 2016 22.42 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010