\"Tobias

Tobias Botes of Italy and Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton in action during the match in Dublin on Saturday. Photo by: Google Images

Sports Digest: Irish rugby team easily pass Italian test in RBS Six Nations

\"Tobias

Tobias Botes of Italy and Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton in action during the match in Dublin on Saturday. Photo by: Google Images

Trap’s Team

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni will hand Derry duo James McClean and Shane Duffy their international debuts from the bench on Wednesday night.

Sunderland winger McClean and Everton defender Duffy have been named as substitutes for the Aviva Stadium friendly against the Czech Republic.

The game is the second last match before Trapattoni names squad for the European Championships in Poland this summer.

McClean and Duffy have their work cut out to make that squad but should get some chance to impress the Italian on Wednesday.

Wigan midfielder James McCarthy is in the same boat despite a late injury crisis for the Irish boss.
Wolves striker Kevin Doyle and Birmingham’s Keith Fahey were the latest players to withdraw on Tuesday.

Like defender Stephen Kelly and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood they have now returned to their clubs in England.

As a result, West Brom’s Shane Long will now partner skipper Robbie Keane in attack.
Ireland vs. the Czech Republic: Given; O'Shea, St. Ledger, O’Dea, Ward; Duff, Andrews, Whelan, McGeady; Long, Keane (capt).

No Pity

CELTIC old boy Aiden McGeady has admitted he has little or no sympathy for financially crippled Rangers as the Ibrox club are threatened with extinction.

Now playing for Spartak Moscow in Russia, McGeady is well aware of the problems that have beset his former rivals of late.

“I’m a Celtic fan, so I can’t say I feel much sympathy, but if it was happening to Celtic, of course you would be absolutely gutted,” said McGeady.

“I have got a lot of friends who are Rangers fans, and that is absolutely torture if that’s happening to your team.

“But Rangers are too big a club for them to go under. Obviously, everyone is very, very anxious just now and waiting on the outcome of what’s going to happen, but I can’t see anything worse happening than is happening just now.”

Celtic are now 20 points clear of Rangers and even from afar, McGeady has been impressed with their form this season.

He added, “Celtic have been flying, unbeaten in 19, 20 games and with Rangers falling apart at the minute, if you are a Celtic fan, it’s looking quite good.”

Currently on international duty with Ireland, McGeady is bursting with excitement ahead of the European Championships in Poland this summer.

“I wake up at night dreaming about it,” he added. “You just want to get to a major finals. Now we have to make sure we stay fit and give ourselves the best possible chance to shine at the Euros.

“Everyone is absolutely buzzing for it and still on a high from last November. We are looking forward to the initial gathering at the end of May and then the championships themselves. It is going to be fantastic.

“We weren’t expected to qualify and we did, but now we are there we are going to do everything we can to get out of the group. We are in a very tough group.”

Soccer Shorts

ENGLISHMAN Ian Baraclough is the new manager of Airtricity League title contenders Sligo Rovers. The former Scunthorpe boss succeeds his compatriot Paul Cook. Sligo have added Haiti international Pascal Millien and former Ipswich youngster David Cawley to their squad ahead of Friday night’s kick-off . . .

RICHARD Dunne has been named as Ireland’s Player of the Year for 2011. Darren O’Dea captured the Young Player award and Darron Gibson’s goal against Wales in the Carling Nations Cup was voted the 3 International Goal of the Year.

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