Football: McCarthy recalls his United men

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The Independent Online
THE MANCHESTER United pair, Denis Irwin and Roy Keane, return to the Republic of Ireland squad for the controversial Euro 2000 qualifiers against Yugoslavia and Macedonia next month.

The Republic manager Mick McCarthy has named a 23-man squad for the Group Eight qualifying games in Dublin, as well as the friendly against Northern Ireland on 29 May.

The friendly will be in aid of the Omagh Disaster Fund, with a 40,000 crowd expected at Lansdowne Road. The other two matches, against Yugoslavia on 5 June and Macedonia four days later, are still on after the ruling by Uefa, European football's governing body, that Yugoslavia will be allowed to compete in the Euro 2000 qualifiers in spite of the Kosovo crisis.

"After that Uefa decision, I have no alternative but to prepare in the normal manner for the Yugoslavia game," McCarthy said. "But we know that it may not be until May 28 as to whether the game definitely gets the go-ahead."

Keane and Irwin return, as well as Leeds' Ian Harte, Middlesbrough's Keith O'Neill and Blackburn's Lee Carsley, after they missed out in last month's 2-0 victory over Sweden in a friendly at Lansdowne Road because of injuries.

The Stoke City midfielder Graham Kavanagh, who scored one of the goals against the Swedes, is omitted as he is getting married on 4 June. "Graham did very well for us when coming in as a late replacement for Roy Keane and Lee Carsley. But I would never dream of interfering with his marriage and honeymoon plans," McCarthy said.

With Manchester United's involvement in the FA Cup final against Newcastle United on Saturday week and then the European Champions' Cup final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona on 26 May, Irwin and Keane will not link up with the Republic squad until after the Northern Ireland game.

"Unfortunately, Denis misses the FA Cup final and Roy the European Cup final because of suspensions. But I know they will both want to be very much part of their club's preparations for such important games," McCarthy added. "They will link up with us on the Monday."

The Coventry City midfielder Barry Quinn is the only uncapped player in Ian Evans' Under-21 squad for forthcoming games against Northern Ireland, Scotland, Yugoslavia and Macedonia. The former Republic youth-team captain has broken into the first-team line-up at Highfield Road this season and is regarded as an excellent prospect by his club manager, Gordon Strachan.

Squads, Digest, page 31

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