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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Boyle eager to make final cut for qualifier

Over six years after his last taste of international football proper, Andy Boyle is keen to make the most of his spell with the Republic of Ireland squad this week.

Following a busy spell which saw him play 210 minutes in two bruising games, against Zenit St Petersburg and Cork City in Sunday's FAI Cup final, Boyle was hard at it again today, as he's been given the nod to stay with the Ireland squad ahead of Saturday's World Cup tie in Vienna.

Boyle and his Dundalk team-mate Daryl Horgan hooked up with the senior panel last night in Dublin and will train for the first time today, a chance for Boyle to lift his spirits after that Cup defeat.

"I had wanted to concentrate on the Cup final and park the Ireland call-up," says Boyle, who had little time to prepare for this bout of Ireland duty. "The bags were as packed as they could be as I haven't been in the house much lately," he jokes.

"It's something to look forward to, it's a chance to go in and put my foot in the door. It's a great achievement for ourselves, for me and Daryl, to get into the squad and get recognition, now we have to go in and do ourselves justice, if it's training or making the 23-man squad."

While Boyle did spend some time training with the senior squad during Noel King's time as caretaker in 2013 this is his first time to be in the international squad properly since may 2010, when the then UCD man was part of the Ireland U19 side competing in a Euro qualifying tournament in Ukraine.

Of that squad only Robbie Brady has progressed to win senior caps, though Conor Clifford was named in senior panels by Giovanni Trapattoni.

With experienced players like Ciaran Clark, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce and Paul McShane ahead of him, Boyle faces a battle to earn a place in the match-day squad for Saturday but assistant manager Roy Keane says the Dundalk pair deserve their call-up.

"Both of the players have done well, like a lot of the Dundalk lads. It's been a big couple of years and they have been selected for the provisional squad on merit," Keane said.

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