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'It's a shame but that's part and parcel of the game' says Martin O'Neill

Keiren Westwood and Stephen Quinn were chosen instead by Ireland manager Martin O’Neill

David Forde has not made the cut.
David Forde has not made the cut.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

DAVID FORDE WAS arguably the biggest loser as Martin O’Neill finally settled on his final 23 for Euro 2016 tonight.

The Ireland boss confirmed the squad list shortly after watching a second-string team lose 2-1 to Belarus, with Sheffield Wednesday’s Keiren Westwood getting the nod alongside fellow goalkeepers Darren Randolph and Shay Given.

O’Neill admitted it wasn’t an easy decision to make and praised Millwall stopper Forde’s contribution during his two-and-a-half year reign.

“I made a couple of decisions on players with a few things taken into consideration – fitness, number of games played recently and boys who have played well for team in the last two years,” O’Neill said.

“David Forde is obviously disappointed because he has been a big part of proceedings and made a wonderful save against Germany way back when they were leading 1-0. They could have gone 2-0 and the game would have been long way back and we end up getting that point that eventually takes us to France.

“That’s a disappointment for him. He has been excellent for us and there are one or two disappointments as well. It’s a shame but that’s part and parcel of the game.”

Captain Robbie Keane will make the trip despite looking doubtful after suffering a calf injury over the weekend and he is aiming to be ready for the meeting with Sweden on 13 June.

“Robbie is the captain of the side and he feels he is going to be fit,” added O’Neill. “He thinks that he could be fit for Sweden but if he’s not then it could be for the next one.

“James McCarthy did a bit of work today and there has been good improvement which helps a lot.

I’m not a soothsayer but I think there is a fairly decent chance they’re going to be okay. I’ve got a little bit of time. James has played a lot of matches for Everton and he is a pretty fit lad anyway but like anyone else he would like a bit of time on the field.”

Bournemouth’s Harry Arter won’t make the trip to France after returning to England earlier today, however.

“Harry has picked up an injury at this minute and has gone home,” said O’Neill. “He is reasonably feeling that he could be fit in 10 days or something but it’s another call that you have to make.

“We’ve got a couple of players injured at the moment and while you want to go in with skilful players you have to balance it with players who are fit.”

Ireland’s final Euro 2016 squad

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Stoke City), Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday).

Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Derby County), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Blackburn Rovers), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Robbie Brady (Norwich City).

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sheffield Wednesday), David Meyler (Hull City), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Stephen Quinn (Reading), James McCarthy (Everton), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion).

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town), Robbie Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy).

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Ben Blake

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