Stephen Ward admits he has to pinch himself when he contemplates the prospect of running out for the Republic of Ireland at the Euro 2012 finals.

The 26-year-old Wolves full-back is a relative newcomer to the squad with only 10 senior caps to his name to date, but he has established himself as a key member of Giovanni Trapattoni's first-choice back four. Indeed, he is the only fully fit member of that back four ahead of Saturday's friendly against Bosnia at the Aviva Stadium.

However, simply preparing for the finals of a major tournament is a dream come true for a man who was a schoolboy the last time Ireland made it on to the big stage a decade ago. Ward said: "Just to be in and around it here and be in the squad is something I could only have dreamed of."

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