Shane Long, John O’Shea could feature for Ireland in EURO playoff

AP
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The Republic of Ireland could be getting some key players back for Monday’s EURO 2016 qualifying playoff against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Southampton striker Shane Long and Sunderland defender John O'Shea could both be fit after missing out on the first leg through injury, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Stoke City’s Jonathan Walters will also be available after serving a suspension.

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Shane Long hasn’t played in a month after suffering a knee injury, although he scored the game-winner in Ireland’s shocking win over Germany in their last match in Dublin. The Saints’ striker has a knack for scoring off the bench, so he could be used in that role if he is unable to go the full 90 minutes.

While the 34-year-old John O’Shea may have lost a step over the years, he still has more than 100 caps for his country and would bring some veteran leadership to the center of defense.

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Another decision the manager will have to make is whether to play Robbie Keane. The 35-year-old is Ireland’s all-time leader in goals and appearances, but did not play in the first leg in Bosnia. O’Neill admitted he could not “turn back the clock,” but said he has certainly not ruled out the LA Galaxy striker. If a late goal is needed, Robbie Keane would be the man to get it.

Despite getting a key away goal in the first leg, manager Martin O’Neill said his side will still play for the win in Dublin, knowing Edin Dzeko and Bosnia are more than capable of getting on the scoresheet.