Finnan and Morrison return for Aussie visit

 

Brian Kerr has returned Steve Finnan and Clinton Morrison to the international fold to face Australia in Lansdowne Road on the 19th of August.

The two have missed out on Ireland's dramatic reversal of fortunes in the Euro 2004 qualifiers under Brian Kerr, suffering from a knee and shoulder injury respectively.

Finnan, who signed for Liverpool last month, has missed the last two qualifiers against Albania and Georgia but returned to action for Liverpool against Galatasaray in the Amsterdam tournament at the weekend.

Kerr is aware that the scheduling of the match might have upset a few of his fellow managers but insists the game is vital to his team's Euro 2004 qualification campaign.

"I know it's at a bad time for clubs and I respect that," he said.

"And I'm also having to pick a squad based on last season's form because there have been no games yet this season.

"But I think it is important to get the players back together and get them back in the international frame of mind ahead of huge challenge we face in September and October."

Colin Healy was also included in the 23 man squad despite the fact that he is currently without a club. Healy's contract with Celtic expired at the end of last season and he is being pursued by Sunderland. A deal however is proving complicated.

"Colin needs to find a club soon and I'm sure it will be sorted out shortly," said Kerr. "But like Gary (Breen) he did well for us last season despite not playing much first-team football."

Andy O'Brien and Damien Duff are also included in the squad after recovering form minor knocks. Newcastle central defender O'Brien had been ruled out after surgery on broken nose, while Duff, Chelsea's record signing at stg£17m, was forced out of the Albania game after picking up an injury against Georgia.

Notable absentees include Stephen McPhail of Leeds United and Alan Lee of Rotherham United.

Republic of Ireland squad v Australia

Goalkeepers

Shay Given (Newcastle United), Nick Colgan (Hibernian), Joe Murphy (West Bromwich Albion)

Defenders

John O'Shea (Manchester United), Stephen Carr (Tottenham Hotspur), Ken Cunningham (Birmingham City), Gary Breen (Sunderland), Andy O'Brien (Newcastle United), Ian Harte (Leeds United), Richard Dunne (Manchester City), Steve Finnan (Liverpool)

Midfielders

Lee Carsley (Everton), Colin Healy (Unattached), Matt Holland (Charlton Athletic), Mark Kinsella (Aston Villa) Kevin Kilbane (Sunderland), Steven Reid (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Quinn (Sheffield Wednesday), Damien Duff (Chelsea)

Strikers

Gary Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur), Clinton Morrison (Birmingham City), David Connolly (West Ham United)