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Friday 9 December 2016

Joy for Wes Hoolahan as Norwich make rapid return

Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan celebrates with the trophy after gaining promotion to the Barclays Premier League
Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan celebrates with the trophy after gaining promotion to the Barclays Premier League

WES Hoolahan laid down a marker for Martin O'Neill and achieved his dream of one more tilt at the big time when pulling the strings in Norwich's 2-0 Championship play-off win over Middlesbrough at Wembley yesterday.

The win means a rapid return to the Premier League for Norwich after relegation last season back and a cash bonanza worth €130m.

With the big friendly against England now less than two weeks away and an even bigger date with destiny for O'Neill looming on June 13 against Scotland, Hoolahan made his claim for inclusion in the starting line-up for both games with a rich run of recent form.

Now, with Robbie Brady, David Meyler, Stephen Quinn and Paul McShane all heading in the other direction after Hull's heart-breaking relegation on Sunday, Hoolahan is one of an ever-shrinking band of Irish players playing in the top division.

O'Neill gathers in players in Dublin Monday for a two-week stint which will culminate in the make-or-break Euro 2016 showdown against Scotland at the Aviva.

SEE PAGE 69

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