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Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers 'a possibility' to feature for Ireland tomorrow night

Martin O’Neill also indicated he does not expect Shay Given to continue playing for Ireland after Euro 2016.

Goalkeeper Gary Rogers pictured at Ireland training.
Goalkeeper Gary Rogers pictured at Ireland training.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL SAYS he will consider including Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers in the Ireland squad to face the Netherlands for tomorrow night’s friendly at the Aviva Stadium.

Rogers has been training with the Ireland squad in recent days — as he also did last March ahead of the friendlies with Switzerland and Slovakia — as both Keiren Westwood and David Forde are in play-off action with their clubs this weekend and consequently unavailable for international duty at present.

Asked at a press conference today whether Rogers would feature in the squad for tomorrow night’s match against the Dutch, O’Neill said:

It’s a possibility. He’s just performed brilliantly out there again (in training), and I might do so.”

While O’Neill said that he was “happy” with Shay Given’s fitness overall, he stopped short of confirming that the Donegal native would be involved tomorrow night.

“It was a programme he was doing at his club, and so we just rested him yesterday,” O’Neill added, of the reason for the veteran not training with the team on Wednesday.

Should Given be unavailable tomorrow night, that would leave West Ham’s Darren Randolph as the only goalkeeper at his disposal of the original players picked in his 35-man squad.

Rogers may consequently be drafted into the match-day squad as cover for the Hammers goalkeeper.

The 34-year-old is considered to be among the best goalkeepers in the League of Ireland and was last January named as the ‘SWAI Goalkeeper of the Year’ for his performances at club level.

While plenty of players with a League of Ireland background, including Wes Hoolahan and Seamus Coleman, have featured for Ireland in recent years, no player active in the league has represented the Boys in Green since 2007.

If he does make an appearance against the Dutch, Rogers would consequently become the first League of Ireland player to line out for Ireland since then-Cork City star Joe Gamble was involved in Steve Staunton’s side’s US tour.

And whatever happens tomorrow night, O’Neill appeared to hint that that Given would feature in Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad fitness permitting, adding that he did not expect the 40-year-old stopper to continue on representing his country after the Euros.

“He came back. I think he felt that he didn’t want to go out on a note that he had (after Euro 2012). But when he looks back on his career, I’m sure he’ll be absolutely delighted with it. He’s been terrific for Ireland and at club level.

But time doesn’t stand still with people. You do get older in this life, as I found out… I’d imagine this would be his final time (representing Ireland).

“He’s been a great help to the other goalkeepers and he’s been very encouraging and he’s been good around the place — that helps a little bit. But it doesn’t mean your place (in the team) is certain just because you’re good around the place. My daughters could be very good around the place, but they might not make it.”

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Paul Fennessy

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