KEANE PULLS OUT OF IRELAND SQUAD
By Peter O`Rourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Republic of Ireland skipper picked up the injury in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday in which he was also sent-off for a terrible tackle on Alf Inge-Haaland.
The news is a blow for Irish manager Mick McCarthy but it was unclear whether he would be selected to play against the part-timers, with the inspirational midfielder just one booking away from suspension, which would rule him out of the vital clash with Group Two favourites Portugal in June.
Keane, who has won 52 caps for the Republic of Ireland, starred in their last two qualifiers against Cyprus and Andorra last month and his absence will be blow as they attempt to extend their lead at the top of their qualifying group.
Ireland will also be without veteran Sunderland striker Niall Quinn, who again has pulled out with a recurrence of a long-standing back problem, and the versatile Derby County ace Rory Delap, who sustained an ankle injury in Saturday's defeat at Bradford City.
McCarthy has called up Coventry's Barry Quinn, Watford striker Dominic Foley and Bolton midfielder Gareth Farrelly as replacements in the squad.
Quinn's absence may also see McCarthy draft Tottenham Hotspur's versatile Gary Doherty up front alongside Robbie Keane.