Former Celts

McGeady and O'Dea star in Ireland win

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Aiden McGeady Ireland newsAiden McGeady and Darren O’Dea staked their claim for starting places in Ireland’s Euro 2012 opener against Croatia in yesterday’s 1-0 home win over Bosnia.

Sunderland winger James McClean was given a starting place by Giovanni Trapattoni but it was the half time introduction of McGeady that changed the course of the game.

O’Dea’s Celtic future will become clearer this week when the club decide whether or not to exercise a one year option on his contract but at international level his stock continues to rise.

A late injury to Sean St-Ledger saw the Celtic defender drafted in to play alongside Richard Dunne as the Irish recorded a clean sheet with Keiren Westwood deputising for Shay Given in goal.

The only goal of the game arrived in the 78th minute when Shane Long headed home from a McGeady cross.

Trapattoni is a big fan of McGeady and was delighted by yesterday’s display. The Italian said: “When we arrived here Aiden was already Aiden in terms of talent, but we wanted to bring him confidence.

“He plays in a different country now, playing different football and he has improved.”

“McClean will come along and improve. We wanted to give him the chance because he needs to lift his confidence.

“Darron Gibson was one of the best on the pitch for me. We wanted to try another role for Gibson. He needs to understand midfield – how it works offensively and defensively.”

Ireland now head to a training camp in Italy with one more friendly, against Hungary in Budapest, before their opening Euro 2012 clash with Croatia on June 10 before facing up to group favourites Spain and Italy.

Republic of Ireland: Keiren Westwood (Sunderland); Paul McShane Crystal Palace), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Darren O’Dea (Celtic), Stephen Ward (Wolves); Damien Duff (Fulham), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Darron Gibson (Everton), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves).

Substitutions: Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow) for Duff 46, Keith Andrews (West Brom) for Whelan 46, Shane Long (West Brom) for Keane 62, John Walters (Stoke City) for Doyle 62, Sean St. Ledger (Leicester City) for Dunne 70, Stephen Kelly (Fulham) for McShane 78.

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