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Keane tops bill in provisional 35-man Ireland squad

12 May 2016, 21:31

Dublin - The Republic of Ireland's record goal-scorer Robbie Keane headlined a 35-man squad announced on Thursday for the forthcoming friendly against the Netherlands and the 2016 European Championship.

The Los Angeles Galaxy striker, 35, will go in search of his 68th international goal against Holland in Dublin on May 27, while, at the other end of the scale, Oxford United winger Callum O'Dowda has won his first call-up.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill will whittle his squad down to 23 players the day after the match in preparation for Euro 2016, which will see the Irish tackle Sweden, Belgium and Italy in Group E.

"Everything now is about preparing for Euro 2016 and that is why we wanted to play a team of the calibre of the Netherlands as we aim to make the most of our time ahead of the departure for France," O'Neill told a press conference in Dublin.

"We will travel to Fota Island Resort (near Cork, Ireland) for a training camp and a game against Belarus in the week afterwards, but this game at the Aviva Stadium is very important in terms of building our match sharpness and getting into tournament mode.

"It is also an opportunity to play in front of the Ireland supporters, who have been terrific, at the Aviva Stadium before leaving for the Euros and that is something that means a lot to the players because when we get together, it all comes together."

Keane, who is also Ireland's captain, recently returned to action for LA Galaxy after undergoing knee surgery.

Also read: Knee op to sideline Galaxy’s Keane for up to six weeks

There was a place in the squad for Everton right-back Seamus Coleman, despite the fact he has not played since last month due to a hamstring injury.

Shay Given, Marc Wilson, Jeff Hendrick, Harry Arter, Jonathan Walters and David McGoldrick also return after missing the March friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia through injury.

Ireland play their final pre-tournament friendly against Belarus in Cork on May 31 before travelling to France on June 8. They open their Euro campaign against Sweden in Paris on June 13.

Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Stoke City/ENG), Darren Randolph (West Ham United/ENG), David Forde (Millwall/ENG), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton/ENG), Cyrus Christie (Derby County/ENG), Paul McShane (Reading/ENG), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa/ENG), Richard Keogh (Derby County/ENG), John O'Shea (Sunderland/ENG), Alex Pearce (Bristol City/ENG, on loan from Derby County/ENG), Shane Duffy (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Marc Wilson (Stoke City/ENG), Stephen Ward (Burnley/ENG)

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG, on loan from Everton/ENG), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City/ENG), James McCarthy (Everton/ENG), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County/ENG), David Meyler (Hull City/ENG), Stephen Quinn (Reading/ENG), Darron Gibson (Everton/ENG), Harry Arter (Bournemouth/ENG), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City/ENG), Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth/ENG), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City/WAL), Robbie Brady (Norwich City/ENG), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City/ENG), Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen/SCO), Callum O'Dowda (Oxford United/ENG)

Forwards: Robbie Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy/USA), Shane Long (Southampton/ENG), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town/ENG), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids/USA), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town/ENG)

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