EURO 2016: Derry's Euro hopefuls get final chance to impress Ireland boss
DERRY's Euro 2016 hopefuls get a final chance to impress Republic of Ireland boss, Martin O'Neill tonight at Turners Cross in the hope of booking their seat on the plane to France.
The Republic of Ireland play their final warm-up game before departing for Paris against Belarus tonight at the home of SSE Airtricity Premier Division club, Cork City.
And while West Brom winger, James McClean is most likely to be named in the 23 man squad which O’Neill is set to reveal tonight at 11 p.m., Eunan O’Kane, Shane Duffy and Darron Gibson are all hoping they can catch the eye of the manager in Cork.
Shane Duffy (above) gave an assured performance alongside John O’Shea at the heart of the Irish defence in the 1-1 draw with the Netherlands at the Aviva Stadium last Friday night and the Blackburn defender is likely to get the nod.
Indeed, Duffy’s performances and superb season with Blackburn, means he is right in the battle to partner O’Shea in France with Ciaran Clark and Richard Keogh, who appears to be leading that particular race.
Bournemouth midfielder, O’Kane revealed that O’Neill has not yet given his players any indication about whether they will be in the final squad, but he’s clinging on to the hope of securing one of the few spaces remaining.
And the 25 year-old Co. Derry lad insists he has a ‘great desire’ to represent his country at the tournament. “He (Martin O’Neill) said there’s a few spaces still up for grabs,” said O’Kane. “We’ve got Tuesday’s game and for anyone who feels they’re not on the plane, they have until then to step up to the plate and say ‘I deserve a seat’.
“It’s a great opportunity for all players. It’s a great stage to play on and there’s no better feeling than going to a major tournament and representing your country and hopefully winning some games. So I have a great desire to do that.”
Everton’s Gibson came off the bench against the Dutch at the weekend but with his lack of game time this season, and the huge competition for places in midfield he’s likely to miss the cut. Although he has one last chance to stake his claim tonight.