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Shamrock Rovers striker handed his chance as O'Shea bows out

 

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has challenged Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke to embrace his first senior call-up, as John O'Shea prepares to make a final international appearance.

O'Shea, who has won 117 caps since 2001, on Wednesday night announced his decision to retire following the friendly against the USA in Dublin on June 2.

O'Neill confirmed when naming a provisional 40-man squad yesterday for the upcoming fixtures - which also include trips to Celtic and France - that the Sunderland defender would lead the Republic out at the Aviva Stadium to give the 37-year-old a fitting send-off.

"I thought he was a great influence," said O'Neill.

However, there was also a look towards the changing of the guard as the squad regroups following failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Burke, 24, is the current leading scorer in the League of Ireland with nine goals. O'Neill also handed first senior call-ups to Callum Robinson, Conor O'Malley and Shaun Williams.

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