Trap door closed to McClean
Sunderland winger James McClean was a surprise omission when Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni named his squad for the friendly clash with Czech Republic later this month.
The 22-year-old was expected to win a first senior call-up after being watched by both Trapattoni and assistant Marco Tardelli in recent weeks, but he did not make the 24-man party for the game at the Aviva Stadium on February 29.
But there were no further surprises as the Italian, who has vowed to remain loyal to the men who secured qualification for the Euro 2012 finals, stuck to his guns.
There was a place for midfielder Darron Gibson, whose January move from Manchester United to Everton has given him the regular football both he and his international boss have wanted for him, while skipper Robbie Keane, buoyed by his form on loan for Aston Villa, heads a pool of five strikers.
Trapattoni said: "This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations.
"As we face this fixture, it is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification.
"The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain.
"This game is vital in helping us choose our 23-player squad for May. We will continue to monitor our players afterwards, and keep a close eye on their fitness in the coming months."
Squad: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O'Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Wigan), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton) Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves); Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).