chance to impress

3 Ireland players we'd like to see get a chance against Holland

Martin O’Neill names his squad for the friendly later today.

Shane Duffy

Shane Duffy Duffy was man of the match against Switzerland. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

THE BLACKBURN ROVERS defender won his second cap in the 1-0 victory over Switzerland in March and seized his opportunity as he produced a man of the match performance.

Duffy is a man in form, too, having recently been crowned Blackburn’s player of the year and has done his chances of going to Euro 2016 no harm.

Two years after his first cap, Duffy was a commanding figure for the Boys in Green at the Aviva Stadium last time out and would have impressed Martin O’Neill in the process.

The 24-year-old has matured at Ewood Park and it would be a worthwhile exercise to see him deployed at the heart of the Irish defence again against Holland.

While John O’Shea, Ciaran Clark and Richard Keogh are all ahead of him in the pecking order, it may not be too late for Duffy to force his way into reckoning with another stand-out display.

Greg Cunningham

Greg Cunningham and Daniel Lukasik Cunningham has enjoyed a good season with Preston North End. Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Greg Cunningham’s last appearance in green was three years ago but the defender has gone away and resurrected a stuttering career with a couple of solid seasons with Preston.

After being first capped under Giovanni Trapattoni in 2010, Cunningham found himself in the international wilderness as he moved from club to club.

But after stints with Leicester, Nottingham Forest and Bristol, the 25-year-old has become a regular at Preston.

His club form was rewarded with a call-up to O’Neill’s extended squad for the Euro 2016 play-off and now he’ll be hoping to get an opportunity on 27 May in Dublin.

This summer’s Championships will come too early for the Galway native but he may just grow into the role as Ireland’s regular left-back in future campaigns.

Jonny Hayes

Jonny Hayes Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Another player coming off the back of a terrific season at club level, Hayes made cameos against Switzerland and Slovakia in March.

The 28-year-old midfielder has come on the radar this year and it would be interesting to see what he can produce if given the platform to impress against the Dutch.

Hayes’ fine form was recognised with a place in the PFA Scotland Premiership Team of the Year while he also scooped the Aberdeen Player of the Year award.

And if he can replicate those performances in a green jersey then he could be a very useful asset for O’Neill to have.

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