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pressure on Darren Randolph back but Stephen Kenny says No 1 spot is open to emerging stars

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny has said that the return of Darren Randolph does not make Ireland’s goalkeeping situation clear-cut with highly-rated youngsters Caoimhín Kelleher and Gavin Bazunu putting pressure on the long-serving number one.

Randolph is due to link up with Kenny’s squad at a training camp in Spain this week ahead of the June friendlies with Andorra and Hungary. The Wicklow native made just seven appearances for West Ham this term with four of those coming in cup competitions.

He is second choice for David Moyes but was also troubled by hip and thigh problems that ruled him out during the March international window.

Liverpool deputy Kelleher was set to stand in but injury ruled him out and Bournemouth’s Mark Travers suffered a rough night against Serbia before Manchester City prospect Bazunu came in for the loss to Luxembourg and draw with Qatar.

Randolph is now back in the fold but Kenny indicated he will be pushed by Kelleher and Bazunu and stressed that leaving Travers out of his 27-man squad was one of the toughest decisions he faced.

“They’re all capable of playing,” said Kenny. “It is one that is not straightforward. It’s great that Darren got a game (v West Brom last week) after his injury – that thigh/hip injury he had for the best part of over a year had caused him no end of problems.

“Obviously Darren has 50 caps which is terrific to have that level of experience and the other two players have exceptional talent and would look to try and push their way into the team, for sure.

“Caoimhín had an abdominal injury, he’s played for Liverpool’s first team this year and is a very talented goalkeeper. And then Gavin has come in and for one so young he showed great composure under pressure.

“There is genuine competition there with the three of them so we have to see how training goes and we’ll speak to Dean Kiely and see how things are shaping up and we’ll have a look at that. It’s an interesting area.”

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