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Martin O’Neill Includes A Number Of New Faces In 30-Man Ireland Squad To Face Turkey


Martin O’Neill has named a 30-man provisional Ireland squad for this month’s international friendly against Turkey.

It will be the first game for the Boys in Green since November’s World Cup play-off disappointment, and also the first since the manager confirmed his intention to stay on board for the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 campaign.

In terms of the squad, O’Neill had suggested that he would be looking to bring through a new generation of Irish players, helped n part by the retirements of Wes Hoolahan and Daryl Murphy since the last few weeks.

O’Neill has gone with a squad that features five new faces – Manchester United goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara, West Ham’s Declan Rice, Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens and Blackburn Rovers duo Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams

Arguably the biggest talking point, however, is the return of captain Seamus Coleman. It will be almost a year to the day since his last appearance for the national side, assuming he plays in Antanlya, after breaking his leg in a World Cup qualifier against Wales in 2017.

Another player who has recently returned to action is Preston striker Sean Maguire. The former Cork City man has only made two substitute appearances thus far in his comeback from a four-month absence, but after scoring three goals in those two games he was never going to be left out of this panel.

Players such as Aston Villa duo Scott Hogan and Conor Hourihane are expected to play bigger roles for Ireland from here on out – their club form poises them nicely for this – while Maguire’s Preston teammate Alan Browne was impossible for O’Neill to ignore given his recent brilliance for the Championship side.

Irish fans will also be happy to see players such as Liam Kelly, Greg Cunningham and Alan Judge named as the Boys in Green usher in the new era.

Robbie Brady, James McCarthy, Jonathan Walters, Stephen Ward, Callum O’Dowda and David McGoldrick miss out as they recover from various medium to long-term injuries, while the exclusions of Glenn Whelan, Darren Randolph, Aiden McGeady and John O’Shea are interesting.

Dublin , Ireland - 6 October 2017; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, left, and assistant manager Roy Keane during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Moldova at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Cody Glenn/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The FAI are expecting just over 200 Ireland  fans in the 32,000 capacity stadium on March 23rd, and have already told away supporters that they will not be charged for their match tickets as a gesture of goodwill.

This will mark the first Ireland fixture in a year that also includes friendlies against USA, Poland and Northern Ireland, and Nations League clashes with recent foes Wales and Denmark, as the buildup to Euro 2020 begins in earnest.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.