Morrison and Healey likely to feature in McCarthy's plans

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The Independent Online

Mick Mccarthy's oft-stated promise to reward the players who earned the Republic of Ireland a place at the World Cup finals will be reflected in the provisional list of 23 he announces in Dublin this morning.

The squad will be the one on duty for the Niall Quinn testimonial match at Sunderland next Tuesday and then the friendly at home to Nigeria two days later, assuming there are no injuries in the remaining Premiership matches this week. That leaves a further four days if any replacements need to be called up before Fifa's final deadline on 21 May.

The main developments in the squad's evolution since qualification last November have been impressive performances in friendly matches by Crystal Palace's Clinton Morrison and the Celtic midfielder Colin Healy, who has been on loan at Coventry. Both can now expect a call.

Among those who may be disappointed are Tottenham's Gary Doherty and the Newcastle defender Andy O'Brien. Doherty's value is diminished now that Morrison has emerged and Quinn has demonstrated his fitness. With Steve Staunton challenging Gary Breen and Kenny Cunningham for the central defensive positions there is adequate cover at the back.

Strong endorsements for Healy from his fellow Corkman Roy Keane as well as McCarthy should mean a place for the 22 year-old as cover for the captain. There could also be room for Lee Carsley, a regular squad member, whose appearances have been limited by the consistency of the other central midfield players. On the flanks, Jason McAteer and Kevin Kilbane are first-choice.

In attack, McCarthy made it clear that Robbie Keane and Damien Duff are his favoured pairing. Wimbledon's David Connolly must hope that there is room for a fifth striker.

The final decision will be the largely academic one of third-choice goalkeeper between Blackburn's Alan Kelly, a loyal squad member for almost a decade, or Hibernian's Nick Colgan, a prospect for the future.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD (probable): S Given (Newcastle United), D Kiely (Charlton Athletic), N Colgan (Hibernian); S Finnan (Fulham), G Kelly (Leeds Utd), G Breen (Coventry City), K Cunningham (Wimbledon), R Dunne (Everton), S Staunton (Aston Villa), I Harte (Leeds Utd); J McAteer (Blackburn Rovers), M Holland (Ipswich Town), Roy Keane (Man Utd), M Kinsella (Charlton Athletic), L Carsley (Everton), C Healy (Celtic), K Kilbane (Sunderland), M Kennedy (Wolverhampton Wanderers); Robbie Keane (Leeds Utd), D Duff (Blackburn Rovers), N Quinn (Sunderland), C Morrison (Crystal Palace), D Connolly (Wimbledon).

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