Preview: Republic of Ireland v Turkey
Martin O'Neill's Ireland side take on Turkey in the first of four summer internationals at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday evening at 6pm.
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill goes into Sunday’s friendly clash with Turkey without the services of James McCarthy, with the Everton midfielder suffering from an ankle problem and unable to take any part in his country’s four summer internationals.
The absence of McCarthy comes as a blow to O’Neill as he looks to prepare his squad for the start of the European Championship qualifiers in Georgia in September.
Darren Randolph and Joey O’Brien are also missing, with the goalkeeping duties set to be split between David Forde and Rob Elliott – who is missing his own stag party to be part of the Ireland squad.
As for the rest of the squad, one name not exactly conspicuous by its absence is that of Stephen Ireland.
The Stoke City midfielder has failed to respond to O’Neill’s attempts to bring him back to the international fold for the first time since 2007, with the Irish boss insisting that he will not be banging down the 27-year-old’s door.
"I tried ringing Stephen but it didn’t come through, I got no answer,” O'Neill said.
"Eventually, Ireland’s agent rang the FAI then I spoke to his agent. I haven’t spoken to Mark Hughes, either. I have left it in the state where I am not going to call him again.
"If he wants to play for Ireland again then he has to phone me. But, I won’t be the one making the calls. I want players to come and play, of course, and the door is always open but I won’t be chasing things, any more."
Robbie Keane will not play any part in the clashes with Turkey or Italy at Craven Cottage, but will join up with his international colleagues for the clashes against both Costa Rica and Portugal in the United States.
John O’Shea, conversely, will take part in the Turkey and Italy games but will not travel to the States.
Who to look out for? Slim enough pickings here, given the end-of-season nature of these things and the fact that the likes of Kevin Doyle, Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick won’t have been involved due to Saturday’s Championship play-off final.
Let’s just say Seamus Coleman, the one world class talent playing in his prime in the Ireland squad, and have done with it.
On the Turkish side, the Champions League final on Saturday night means that Irish fans won’t get to see the rather brilliant (and magnificently bearded) Arda Turan in action, with the main threat for Fatih Terim’s side coming from Galatasaray’s prolific striker Burak Yilmaz.
Ireland squad for summer friendlies: Forde, Elliot, R Keogh*, Wilson, Coleman, O’Shea, Pearce, Kelly, Delaney, Duffy, Hendrick*, Clark, Ward, Whelan, Green, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Quinn, Meyler, Hoolahan, Keane*, Long, D Murphy, Walters, Doyle*, Stokes, Cox and Sammon.
*Won’t be involved against Turkey.