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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019
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Irish veterans roll back the years as O'Neill and Keane scout Championship

Shay Given and Richard Dunne played key roles in 0-0 draws this afternoon.

Shay Given and Richard Dunne were in fine form for their respective clubs today.
Shay Given and Richard Dunne were in fine form for their respective clubs today.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

MARTIN O’NEILL AND Roy Keane continued their scouting duties for the Ireland team this afternoon but neither man witnessed anything close to a goal.

O’Neill was at Vicarage Road to witness Watford’s 0-0 draw with QPR while Keane took in Wigan’s scoreless draw with Burnley.

The Irish manager was there to Hornets midfielder Sean Murray and R’s defender Richard Dunne in action. The centre-back was at his dogged best as he won a number of vital headers in the box and kept the likes of Troy Deeney quiet. Murray was one of Watford’s best players and twice troubled Rob Green in the QPR goal.

O’Neill’s assistant was at the DW Stadium in the hope of seeing James McLean get a decent run-out for the Latics. Keane was at Hull’s 6-0 win over Fulham on Saturday and got to see a 13 minute cameo from Paul McShane while David Meyler was an unused sub. His scouting trip fared slightly better today as McLean came off the bench on 54 minutes and looked lively.

Keane may well have been impressed by the industrious outing from Wigan’s's Chris McCann. The 26-year-old midfielder from Dublin climbed highest in the Burnley box but his header was hacked off the line.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Shay Given kept up his impressive return to first-team football with another clean sheet. The Lifford native made a couple of decent stops as ‘Boro defeated Reading 3-0 at the Riverside.

The clean sheet was Given’s fourth in seven games since his short-term loan move from Aston Villa. It would appear likely that Middlesbro manager Aitor Karanka will seek to secure his services for the remainder of the season.

Darron Randoph was beaten twice by Jordan Rhodes but his Birmingham side held out for a 3-2 away win. Daryl Murphy put Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich a goal up against Bournemouth but the match finished 1-1. Andy Reid’s free was headed in by Greg Halford in Nottingham Forest’s 2-1 home victory over Leeds.

Leicester City will end the year top of the Championship after they came out on top in an eight-goal thriller. Nigel Pearson’s men came back from 2-1 down to win 5-3 and lead second-placed Derby by four points.

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Patrick McCarry

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