Harry Arter: I want to get into the Republic of Ireland team
Harry Arter has switched off from holiday mode and is intent on staking his claim at international level in the coming days.
The Ireland squad assembled at their Dublin base over the weekend and geared up for the first training session in Malahide today, to prepare for the upcoming games against England and Scotland.
For Championship players like Alex Pearce, Jeff Hendrick and Darren Randolph it's a first taste of proper training in three weeks, though compatriots David Forde and James McClean have kept in shape by training with their former clubs, Galway United and Derry City.
As one of the Bournemouth players treated to an end-of-season break in Las Vegas by the club's owners, Arter probably had a better tan than most of his Ireland team-mates but he's deadly serious about the work ahead.
"This is the start of my pre-season. If I didn't do anything now, there's a chance I could go away and pick up a little injury," says Arter.
"It's important to get that out of the way now and look forward to training with Ireland and I think it will give me a good start going to pre-season. With a couple of games as well, it will stand me in good stead for when I come back."
Arter was relieved to make the cut for the final squad and avoid the fate of those who lost out. From the provisional squad named last month, O'Neill has now axed Kevin Doyle, Anthony Stokes, Adam Rooney, Simon Cox, Alan Judge and Anthony Pilkington. While Doyle, Stokes and Cox have played little or no part under O'Neill, the exclusion of potential debutants Judge and Rooney is harsh on the pair who had built up their hopes of an Ireland debut.
Over the weekend, Doyle made his third appearance for new club Colorado Rapids but the side lost 2-1, to Portland Timbers, and Doyle was replaced ten minutes into the second half. And his axing from the final squad for the England/Scotland double header means that the Wexford man has possibly played his final game for Ireland.
Also in the MLS, Sean St Ledger - last capped 18 months ago - is doing his chances of a recall no harm with another solid display for Orlando City, St Ledger starting in a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew.