Three exciting additions we're likely to see in Ireland senior shirts now our Euro 2016 campaign is over

The 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign will see new faces to replace outgoing squad veterans

Matt Doherty, Ireland

Matt Doherty ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

For a few players, Euro 2016 will be the curtain call for a number of Ireland stalwarts.

Robbie Keane and Shay Given will almost certainly head side-stage to join the ranks of retired Ireland legends.

John O'Shea may join them, although John Giles believes the Sunderland veteran still has much to give in a green shirt.

Wes Hoolahan has also reached the age of 34 and although retirement is not on the cards, he has mused about the question before. But as his game is not based on pace, he could stay on board for one more campaign.

Either way, we have found a new group of stalwarts in the shape of the Jeff Hendrick-Robbie Brady generation and they will be joined by some newcomers in the next 12-24 months.

So who is likely to make up this welcome fresh blood in the short-to-medium term?

Jack Byrne

An obvious choice. As his one of the coaches at his boyhood Dublin club St Kevin's Boys told us, the Manchester City midfielder's recent loan move to Blackburn Rovers in the Championship puts him "more in focus" at international level after a promising but more off the radar spell in the Netherlands with SC Cambuur.

The most exciting talent not to have been capped at senior level for Ireland, he is already on Martin O'Neill's radar because he trained with the Boys in Green's seniors in March.

Expect him to be in the squad very soon, especially if he hits the ground running at Blackburn and shows the ability to dictate a game which he has done at underage level.

Chris Forrester in action with Peterborough

Chris Forrester

He's had a good week with a new contract and the club captaincy at Peterborough United and it seems a matter of time before he wears the green shirt at senior level.

The former St Patrick's Athletic midfielder really caught the eye at his current club last season and was even linked with Everton.

Like Byrne, the 23-year-old is on the wider radar, having made it onto an initial 40-man panel for friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia in March. Retirements and continued good form at club level will increase the clamour for his inclusion.

Matt Doherty

The 24-year-old Dubliner won fans' Player of the Year and Players' player of the Year at Wolves last season, earning the right-back a spot in O'Neill's 40-man panel alongside Forrrester.

But unlike Forrester, he did make the cut when the squad was cut by seven names which is a good sign. He is yet to win his debut cap though but that will happen sooner than later.

However, while Seamus Coleman has the Ireland right-back slot sewn up for the long-term, Doherty can rival Derby County's Cyrus Christie - who did travel to Euro 2016 as the deputy.


The next fixture for the Boys in Green is a friendly against Oman on August 31st which could be a good opportunity for experimentation before our first 2018 World Cup qualifier against Serbia on September 5th.