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Carroll revels in Ireland return

Veteran goalkeeper Roy Carroll described his return to the Northern Ireland starting line-up as a "treasured memory".

Carroll made his long-awaited 20th international appearance as a second-half substitute against Holland in June and completed his return to favour by playing the first 45 minutes in Wednesday night's 3-3 draw against Finland.

"For me, coming back to Windsor after six years will always be a treasured memory," said the former Manchester United player.

"It's been a long time but to come out and see the fans in full song was great. It made all the difference we didn't lose, but we could have taken everything from it. We were disappointed of course, but we played a bit of good football and it was encouraging for the younger ones. I suppose a draw was fair."

It is not yet clear who Michael O'Neill will turn to as his number one when the World Cup qualifying campaign gets under way in Russia next month, with Lee Camp the other option.

Camp inherited the gloves from long-term first-choice Maik Taylor towards the end of Nigel Worthington's reign and has now compiled nine caps. But he has made errors in that time and Carroll's re-emergence makes it an intriguing choice for O'Neill.

Asked to assess the pair's claims, the former Shamrock Rovers boss would not commit to nominating either one as his preferred choice.

"Lee came in on the back of Maik's retirement and those are pretty big gloves to fill," said O'Neill. "He's done very well and last night he was unfortunate to lose a goal because with that free-kick there was very little chance of saving it.

"And Roy has revitalised his club career. He's at a massive club in Olympiacos, with Champions League football ahead of him potentially.

"There's a lot of competition and that's just what we need. I hope we keep unearthing more and more players to keep providing that."

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