O'Shea makes final Republic of Ireland appearance as O'Neill names squad for upcoming friendlies
LONDON - Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill kept one eye on the future with a first senior squad call-up for Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke as John O'Shea prepared to make his final international appearance.
On Wednesday evening, veteran defender O'Shea, who has won 117 caps since 2001, announced his decision to retire following the friendly against the United States in Dublin on June 2.
O'Neill subsequently confirmed when naming a provisional 40-man squad on Thursday afternoon for the upcoming fixtures, which also include trips to Celtic and France, the Sunderland defender would be leading Ireland out at the Aviva Stadium to give the 37year-old a fitting send off.
However, there was also a look towards the changing of the guard as the squad regroups following failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Burke, 24, is the current leading scorer in the League of Ireland with nine goals.
There are also first senior call-ups for Preston forward Callum Robinson and Peterborough goalkeeper Conor O'Malley, who are both 23.
Millwall midfielder Shaun Williams, meanwhile, is set to join the Ireland squad for the first time at the age of 31.
While fit-again Burnley forward Jonathan Walters returns to the set-up following a long injury lay-off, O'Neill will have to do without the likes of midfielder Robbie Brady (knee), James McCarthy (broken leg), Jonny Hayes (ankle) and Aiden McGeady (ankle).
O'Neill will use the friendly games as part of his preparations ahead of the opening UEFA Nations League fixture away to Wales on September 6.
Given some of the squad players are still involved in play-off action for their respective clubs, the Ireland boss is expected to use the opportunity to get a good look at what options he will have going forwards.
In a statement on the Football Association of Ireland website, it was confirmed: 'Some players will drop out of the squad after the Celtic game on May 20, while others will only report into camp ahead of the trip to Paris to take on France on May 28 in Stade de France and the home game against the United States on June 2.'
FINAL INTERNATIONAL APEARANCE: John O’shea.