SportSoccer

Big names return to Ireland squad ahead of crunch Austria clash

Martin O'Neill during Ireland's friendly defeat to Mexico on Friday
Martin O'Neill during Ireland's friendly defeat to Mexico on Friday

Martin O'Neill's big guns have met up with the Ireland squad to begin preparations in earnest for next Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Keiren Westwood, John O'Shea, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Glenn Whelan, Harry Arter, Aiden McGeady, Jonny Hayes and Jonathan Walters underwent a light training session at Abbotstown on Friday afternoon as the men who travelled to the United States for the 3-1 friendly defeat by Mexico were put through a recovery session following their return.

The newcomers were joined by midfielder Stephen Quinn, who will train with the squad ahead of Sunday's friendly clash with Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium and the Group D showdown with the Austrians which follows seven days later.

Stephen Gleeson, who scored Ireland's consolation goal at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey after coming on as a second-half substitute, has been released.

O'Neill left the bulk of his Premier League players behind - keeper Darren Randolph and midfielder James McClean were notable exceptions - with their season having finished on May 22, three weeks after his Sky Bet Championship contingent had been able to put up their feet.

The Boys in Green will train again in Dublin tomorrow ahead of the Uruguay game before the manager decides which of his players most need game time before the qualifier.

Ireland currently sit joint the top of World Cup qualifying Group D with Serbia, with both teams sitting on 11 points, four ahead of Austria and Wales.

Squad: Darren Randolph, Keiren Westwood, Colin Doyle; Cyrus Christie, Alex Pearce, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, John O'Shea, Kevin Long, Andy Boyle, John Egan, Stephen Ward; Aiden McGeady, Eunan O'Kane, Glenn Whelan, Harry Arter, Conor Hourihane, Alan Browne, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Daryl Horgan, Wes Hoolahan, Callum O'Dowda, James McClean, Jonny Hayes; Jonathan Walters, Daryl Murphy, David McGoldrick.