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Friday 9 December 2016

Mixed night for Ireland boss Martin O'Neill ahead of big qualifiers

Shay Given
Shay Given

ON A night when Robert Lewandowski dismissed any fears about his fitness by scoring five goals in a nine-minute spell as a sub for Bayern Munich, there was good - and bad - news for Martin O'Neill.

On the plus side for the Ireland boss, last night's League Cup action in England saw Shay Given get only his second game of the season for Stoke City in their 1-0 win away to Fulham while Marc Wilson also got more game time following injury.

John O'Shea, who missed Sunderland's last league game due to illness, was back in the Black Cats side but they were humiliated at home to Manchester City.

And O'Neill will also be pleased to have seen Ciarán Clark back in the Aston Villa side, against Birmingham City.

But there was no sign of Seamus Coleman or Aiden McGeady in the Everton squad which faced Reading, while Darron Gibson was left on the bench by the Toffees in their 2-1 win away to Reading.

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