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The strikers in line to fill the void left by Robbie Keane

We take a look at the young strikers coming through, the uncapped forwards, those who might deserve a second chance and players who qualify through their Irish heritage.

Updated 12:30

IT WOULD ONLY take a quick glimpse through the record books to see that Robbie Keane’s goalscoring record with Ireland is unlikely to be toppled any time soon.

To appear 145 times for your country is a fine achievement in itself, with one more to come on Wednesday against Oman, but to couple it with 67 goals is an astonishing feat for anybody, let alone for a striker that played for Ireland.

To put his accomplishment in to context, he is the highest currently active international goalscorer, and in 15th place in the all-time records.

After all these years, there are still some people who said the Tallaght man only scored against the minnows of world football, that is true, he did score plenty of goals against the weaker nations, but he has also scored in competitive games against Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Holland to name just five.

But as the squad picked by Martin O’Neill yesterday shows, it can be harder to get out of the Ireland squad, then get in it. And in Keane’s absence, an opportunity presents itself for another striker to make a name for himself on the international stage.

Below is a list that may not match Keane’s feats, but could be in the frame to join the Ireland squad when he leaves Lansdowne Road for the last time as a player on Wednesday.

The untested

Joe Mason (Wolves)

Mason is a former Ireland U21 international, but has yet to earn a senior international cap despite being a regular in the Championship over the past five seasons.

The 25-year-old joined Wolves in January, but struggled to cement a place in their starting line-up, but a bright start to this season has seen the former Cardiff City forward score twice in the last three Championship games.

Mason may have the predatory instinct in front of goal that the Ireland squad lacks.

Brentford v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Source: EMPICS Sport

Aiden O’Brien (Millwall)

The 22-year-old striker has enjoyed a good start to the season, netting twice in the opening six games of the season.

It was last year though when O’Brien made a breakthrough at The Den, making 53 appearances scoring a total of 13 times.

The Islington-born striker scored five goals in 10 matches for the Ireland U21′s and could be the man to fire the Lions back into the Championship this season.

Barnsley v Millwall - Sky Bet League One - Play-Off - Final - Wembley Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Second chance

Anthony Stokes (Blackburn Rovers)

The 28-year-old striker has won nine caps for Ireland, the last coming in 2014, but it’s hard to remember the former Celtic striker making a positive contribution in any of those appearances for the national side.

Stokes, who joined Blackburn on a free transfer from Celtic, will be hoping the move down south will help him reinvigorate his career, and he has shown early promise under Owen Coyle, scoring three goals in his opening two games.

But Stokes will need to have a good season in front of goal if he is to force his way into Martin O’Neill’s plans.

Blackburn Rovers v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Ewood Park Source: Dave Howarth

Paddy Madden (Scunthorpe United)

Injury has meant the former Bohemians striker has had a delayed start to the season with Scunthorpe United in League One.

But the 26-year-old is one of the most lethal strikers in the division, having scored 20 league goals last season, an improvement from the 17 he scored the season before.

His sole Ireland cap came in a friendly against Wales in 2013, but his 21 minutes on the field was not enough time to impress Giovanni Trapattoni, and may feel he deserves an opportunity to earn a second appearance in green.

Barnsley v Scunthorpe United - Sky Bet League One - Oakwell Source: Anna Gowthorpe

Cillian Sheridan (Omonia)

The former Celtic striker won three caps for Ireland, but has not featured since 2010.

Having moved to Cyprus in 2013, the Cavan native may have fallen of the radar of the Irish management, but his record of a league goal every other game for Omonia, who are now managed by former Newcastle United manager John Carver may deserve to be recognised.

He is also the only player in this list to play in the Champions League group stages – firstly with Celtic, then with APOEL.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group F - Barcelona v Apoel Nicosia - Camp Nou Source: EMPICS Sport

Granny Rule

Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

Unfortunately for Wilson, his blistering start to the Premier League in which he scored five goals in his first six games – including a hat-trick against West Ham, was put to a halt when he suffered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury last September against Stoke.

The Coventry-born striker has enough quality to play for England, but could be encouraged to play for Ireland by his Bournemouth teammates – Harry Arter, Eunan O’Kane and Marc Wilson.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Frank Augstein

Scott Hogan (Brentford)

The 24-year-old has not been capped at any level of international football, but is looking to put his injury nightmare behind him and start repaying the faith shown in him by Brentford, before thinking about the international scene.

The Salford-born striker had only returned from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, like Wilson, when questions emerged if he was to declare for the Boys in Green after he scored five times in three games for the Bees, which caught the eye of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.

But with a few more games under his belt this season, the young striker could be ready to declare his interest.

Brentford v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Source: Adam Davy

 …and in the future

Sam Byrne (Everton)

Another product of the St Kevin’s Boys youth system, the former Manchester United youngster opted to leave Old Trafford in 2011 to move to Everton.

Unfortunately for the Kildare man, he suffered a broken leg in a training ground incident in March, just as he was hitting form with David Unsworth’s U21 side.

Sam Byrne and Vedat Bora Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Reece Grego-Cox (QPR)

The 19-year-old is a strong, powerful striker, that has been a regular feature in QPR’s matchday squad at the start of the season, although he is yet to play.

An Ireland U21 international, Grego-Cox, made four Premier League appearances at the end of the 2014-15 season as the R’s were already doomed to relegation.

Reece Grego-Cox and Jairo Riedewald Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

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About the author:

Shane Costello

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