Sheffield Wednesday: Keiren Westwood selected in Republic of Ireland squad

Keiren Westwood

Keiren Westwood

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Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has been selected in the Republic of Ireland squad for their up-and-coming matches against Georgia and Moldova.

Westwood, who has been criticised for giving away a penalty in Wednesday’s defeat at Birmingham City last weekend, earned his 19th international cap for his country in their friendly triumph over Oman last month.

Ireland host Georgia in a World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium on October 6 before a trip to Moldova three days later.

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Boss Martin O’Neill has named a 33-man squad including Everton midfielder James McCarthy, who is currently working his way back to fitness after undergoing groin surgery.

O’Neill said: “I’ve spoken to our doctor who says James McCarthy is making good progress. We’ll see how he progresses.”

Central defender Shane Duffy returns to the squad after missing the Serbia game through suspension as a result of his dismissal in Ireland’s last Euro 2016 finals game against hosts France.

There is also a first senior call-up for Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane, while there is a place too for Aberdeen goalkeeper Danny Rogers, currently on loan at Falkirk.

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Among the party which will meet up in Dublin next Sunday, there were recalls for Birmingham midfielder Stephen Gleeson, Cardiff counterpart Anthony Pilkington and Aberdeen’s Jonathan Hayes.

In addition, Robbie Keane’s retirement from international football has opened the door for Colorado Rapids frontman Kevin Doyle to return.

The 33-year-old won the last of his 62 caps in a 1-0 friendly victory over Switzerland in March, but suffered an horrendous gash to his shin and he did not make the cut for the squad which travelled to France.

Meanwhile, O’Neill has finally signed his new contract more than three months after it was announced that he was to stay on as Republic of Ireland boss.

The Football Association of Ireland announced in June that O’Neill, assistant Roy Keane and their staff had agreed extensions, but even as Ireland opened their World Cup qualifying campaign in Serbia last month, the paperwork remained outstanding, sparking speculation that there could be an issue despite the former Northern Ireland international’s repeated denials.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Danny Rogers (Falkirk),

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (all Derby), Paul McShane (Reading), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Shane Duffy (Brighton), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle), Marc Wilson (Bournemouth), Stephen Ward (Burnley),

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Preston), James McClean (West Brom), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Stephen Quinn (Reading), David Meyler (Hull), Conor Hourihane (Barnsley), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O’Kane (Leeds), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan (both Norwich), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen),

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids).

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