Seamus Coleman’s Euro 2012 dream is still alive after he was named in the 24-man Republic of Ireland squad for this month’s international friendly against Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium.
The Everton midfielder has been out of action since suffering a recurrence of a thigh strain against Tamworth in the FA Cup third round last month but will be delighted to get the opportunity to stake his claim for the 23-man squad that will travel to Poland for Euro 2012 in June.
The Killybegs native has been capped four times but a succession of injuries this season has meant his last appearance for his country was last June when Ireland defeated Italy 2-0 in the Belgian city of Liege.
Trapattoni has already confirmed the actual squad for the finals will be announced in advance of the next friendlies, against Bosnia Herzegovina on May 26 and Hungary in Budapest on June 4. Ireland then play Croatia in Poznan on June 10 in their first game of Euro 2012 before taking on world and European champions Spain in Gdansk on June 14 before returning to Poznan to face Trapattoni’s native Italy four days later.
“This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations,” Trapattoni said of the February 29 friendly. “As we face this fixture, it is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification.
“The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain. This game is vital in helping us choose our 23-player squad for May. We will continue to monitor our players afterwards, and keep a close eye on their fitness in the coming months.”
Shay Given will get the chance to win a record 121st cap, while James McCarthy, who has family connections in Gweedore and Annagry, will, like Coleman, be hopeful of maintaining his place in the squad. Aiden McGeady, who also qualifies for Ireland through his ancestry in the west of Donegal, is on board.
However, Shane Duffy of Everton, whose father Brian is from Letterkenny, will in all likelihood have to wait until after Euro 2012 to make his international debut, while Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark, whose grandmother Vera is living in Manorcunningham and father Michael was brought up in Ballyare, also misses out.
Former Derry City winger, James McClean of Sunderland, who gained international clearance this week having opted to declare for Ireland despite having won seven U-21 caps for Northern Ireland, was also not named in the 24-man squad.
Republic of Ireland squad: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O’Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O’Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Wigan), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves); Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).