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The Two Biggest Winners And Two Big Losers From The Ireland Squad Announcement

The Two Biggest Winners And Two Big Losers From The Ireland Squad Announcement
By Gary Reilly
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The Irish squad is here and, as is his want, Martin O'Neill has been rather liberal with his definition of the term 'squad'. Just the 40 players this time around and, as usual, there's been criticism of the fact that the likes of Paul Green and Simon Cox are included despite the fact that there may well be riots if they were to play again before Euro 2016.

Nonetheless, we largely knew what to expect. Alan Judge would be in there and he will be given a decent chance to impress in an Irish jersey following his impressive displays for Brentford.

There was inevitably going to be a rake of midfielders included that have little to no chance of making the final squad. As far as we're concerned, there's two spots up for grabs in midfield and it's likely to be two of Arter, Meyler, Gibson and Judge. If anyone else can break into that equation then they're going to really have to do something special.

Further up the field, the only man who was likely to come in from the cold was Aberdeen's Adam Rooney but he's injured for these games so any hope of breaking up the Walters, Long, Keane, Murphy forward line-up is effectively over.

With that in mind, it would be difficult to call him a 'loser' in today's announcement, but there are a couple of players who you could say are just that.


Damien Delaney

'I've got 6 centre-halves'. And so brought an end to any possibility of the former Cork City defender heading to the Euros. He may well be our best defender, but O'Neill backs 'his' men and Delaney has not been one of those men since O'Neill took over the reigns.


He had effectively retired from international football before Alan Pardew and Scott Dann suggested that Delaney was ready to come back. O'Neill refused to rule it out but, at the same time, he certainly didn't seem overly keen to welcome the Palace man back into the fold.

Instead, O'Neill confirmed that he'll stick with the likes of Alex Pearce and Shane Duffy whom he was particularly keen to ensure is given a fair crack of things ahead of this summer's showpiece.

Richie Towell


To be quite honest, we wouldn't have included him here if it hadn't been for Forrester's inclusion in the squad. If anything, Towell was his own worst enemy in this regard. He raised the possibility of a late play for the Euros with his move to Brighton but getting the big move to the Championship has instead been the baptism of fire that many expected it would be.


Too many are willing to stick the boot into him now that he's not playing for Brighton but in reality, this was always likely to be the initial outcome. If his form for Dundalk was not enough then talk of Euro 2016 was grossly premature. Instead, this squad announcement has driven home just how far away from the squad he is.

Now it's time to face into the long hard slog that lies ahead of him. Breaking into the Brighton midfield will be a huge challenge but if he can do it, an Irish call-up awaits, but it may take significantly longer than Towell may have been expecting.



Chris Forrester 

We wouldn't have included Towell above had it not been for the fact that Forrester has shown the benefit of quiet efficiency. League One has been the perfect step up for the former Pat's midfielder. It's been the perfect case of personal and professional growth and Forrester looks every bit the cultured midfielder that he had promised during his time in the League of Ireland.

While the talent was always there, Forrester's game has blossomed bit by bit at Peterborough and the recent performances against West Brom in the FA Cup really proved that. He won't go to the Euros, in fact he'll do well to make the final squad for these friendlies, but Forrester's mentality is what really makes him a real winner here.


A couple of weeks ago he was asked about his chances of an Ireland call-up and he was playing the long game in terms of his ambitions.

I really don’t know if can you do it from League One. You see a lot of people saying stuff but I wouldn’t be able to say. I don’t know what’s in Martin O’Neill’s or Roy Keane’s heads. All I can do is keep trying to play as well as I can consistently. That is what I am trying to do.

Instead, he has done it from League One and any involvement with the squad is sure to only help his development along.


Shane Duffy

The real winner in all this in a tangible (could actually get to the Euros) sense. It's great for the likes of Stephen Gleeson, Matt Doherty and Jonny Hayes to know that their club form is not going unnoticed but really, it's unlikely to be anything more than that. Duffy, on the other hand, is very much in with a shout of making a real impact in France.

We've been shouting from the rooftops about the need to look at other central defensive options and, now that the Delaney ship has sailed, the Derry man is the only one we need to get a proper look at. His performances for Blackburn have been such that, not only is he in line to make the squad, he could well be our best chance to slot in alongside John O'Shea in France.


That's perhaps jumping the gun a bit given his lack of appearances but, with Delaney's absence, Wilson's injury and the lack of game time for Clark, Duffy has an incredible opportunity to carve out a place for himself over the next couple of weeks.

See also: Three Surprise Additions And One Notable Absentee As Ireland Name Squad For Pre-Euro Friendlies


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