O’Neill welcomes back key players ahead of Uruguay friendly

Nine players have been welcomed into Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland squad to begin preparations 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 this afternoon.

The players involved in Thursday’s friendly against Mexico in New York were put through a recovery session after flying back from the United States.

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 Austria 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 – goalkeeper Darren Randolph and midfielder James McClean were notable exceptions – with their season having just finished on May 22.

The Republic will train again in Dublin on Saturday 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 the group with Serbia and in a strong position to challenge for a trip to Russia next summer.

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.

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