No major surprises in O'Neill's provisional squad for opening Euro qualifier

No major surprises in O'Neill's provisional squad for opening Euro qualifier

MARTIN O’Neill has announced his provisional 36-man squad for Ireland’s opening Euro 2016 qualifying game in Georgia.

The team will travel to Tbilisi on September 7 following a home friendly with Oman four days earlier, and there are no surprises in O’Neill’s selection.

There are no uncapped players in the announced squad, but the most notable absentee is defender Richard Dunne, who recently announced his retirement from international football.

Darron Gibson and Robbie Brady have been included after injury prevented them for featuring in any of O’Neill’s previous squads.

But, whilst they have made it into the extended list they will need to prove their fitness for their clubs before being named in the final squad that will be announced ahead of the game.

Gibson has not made a competitive appearance for Everton since damaging his cruciate ligament playing for Ireland against Kazakhstan last October, but Roberto Martinez is confident that the Derryman could return to full-time action next month.

“In terms of match fitness, Darron is a little bit below,” said O’Neill.

“He thought he might have been involved in the squad last week [v Leicester] but I think he’s on the radar now and that’s good news for us all.

“In terms of Robbie, he’s just had an injury hit season. I’ll probably head up to watch Hull and Stoke on Sunday and he just might get on the field of play. All told, at least it’s positive.”

Former first-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has also been included after returning to club action with Sheffield Wednesday, following his Sunderland exit at the end of last season.

O'Neill also confirmed that Los Angeles Galaxy striker Robbie Keane will remain his captain.

Paul Green is missing from the squad as the only injury concern following the game with Rotherham earlier this week.

Ireland face some tough matches in their campaign for Euro 2016 qualification after being drawn into Group D with World Cup winners Germany, Scotland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar.

Republic of Ireland: David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood, (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (Birmingham), Rob Elliot (Sunderland, Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce, Stephen Kelly (both Reading), Paul McShane (Hull), Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace), Joey O'Brien (West Ham), Shane Duffy, James McCarthy (both Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest), Aiden McGeady (Everton), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), James McClean (Wigan), Robbie Brady, Stephen Quinn, David Meyler (all Hull), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Robbie Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich), Jon Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), Simon Cox (Reading), Conor Sammon (Ipswich).