Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 finals comprises the following 23 players:
Shay Given (Aston Villa) Born: 20.4.76 Caps: 122 Goals: 0. Ireland’s most-capped player, Given made his debut against Russia in 1996. He started out at Celtic in Scotland before moving south to England and the Premier League. Almost ever- present in the national side since his debut, he kept goal for Ireland at the 2002 World Cup and won his 100th cap against Montenegro in 2009.
Keiren Westwood (Sunderland) Born: 23.10.84 Caps: 10 Goals: 0. Ireland’s second-choice goalkeeper made his competitive debut against Macedonia in a Euro 2012 qualifier in March 2011, in place of the injured Given. He came close to leaving football altogether after being released by Manchester City in 2004 but instead signed for Carlisle United, where a run of 131 games earned him a move to Coventry City.
David Forde (Millwall) Born: 20.12.79 Caps: 2 Goals: 0
Made his name in Ireland’s domestic league before moving to Cardiff City and, in 2008, to Millwall, where he has enjoyed considerable success, earning promotion to the English second tier. Made his international debut against Northern Ireland in the 2011 Carling Nations Cup in Dublin.
John O’Shea (Sunderland) Born: 3.4.81 Caps: 76 Goals: 1
O’Shea made his name at Manchester United, where he won five Premier League titles as well as the Champions League. During his 12 years at Old Trafford, he played in every position, including goalkeeper. Signed for Sunderland in July 2011. His first international appearance, against Croatia in 2001, ended badly when he came on as an 84th-minute substitute and conceded a penalty that allowed Croatia to equalise.
Richard Dunne (Aston Villa) Born: 21.9.79 Caps: 73 Goals: 8
A powerful centre-back, Dunne made his breakthrough at Everton before moving to Manchester City in 2000 where he clashed with then-manager Kevin Keegan over his off-field activities. Despite leaving for Aston Villa in 2009, he remains a favourite among City fans. Dunne is Ireland’s key man in defence and it was his heroic performance in a scoreless draw away to Russia that paved the way for Euro 2012 qualification.
Stephen Kelly (Fulham) Born: 6.9.83 Caps: 30 Goals: 0
Another versatile defender who can cover in the centre, Dublin-born Kelly usually plies his trade as fullback for club and country. Signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2000 and represented Ireland at the 2003 World Youth Championships. Made his debut for Ireland in 2006 while playing for Birmingham City. Captained his country for the first time in a friendly against Uruguay in March 2011.
Sean St Ledger (Leicester City) Born: 28.12.84 Caps: 27 Goals: 2. A tough, skilful central defender, St Ledger has yet to make an impression at the highest level of club football despite some excellent performances on the international stage. Scored a diving header against Italy to secure a place for Ireland in the playoffs for the 2010 World Cup, which they then lost in controversial circumstances to France. Likely to be paired with Dunne in central defence if both are fit.
Paul McShane (Hull City) Born: 6.1.86 Caps: 27 Goals: 0
Taken to England by Manchester United, McShane won the FA Youth Cup but bever played a first-team game for the Premier League titans. Skilful but erratic, he has made a series of moves and loans around mid-ranking English clubs. Made his debut against the Czech Republic in 2006 and was a regular for a time before slipping down the pecking order.
Darren O’Dea (Leeds United) Born: 4.2.87 Caps: 14 Goals: 0
A former Celtic captain, O’Dea can play at left back or in the centre of defence. Having appeared in the Champions League for the Scottish club, he hit a rocky patch and went on loan to Reading, Ipswich and Leeds in search of first-team football. Made his Ireland debut in September 2009 in a friendly against South Africa.