O'Shea makes fi­nal Repub­lic of Ire­land ap­pear­ance as O'Neill names squad for up­com­ing friendlies

Observer on Saturday - - Sport - Daily Mail

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.

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