Football

Duff returns for Republic

Duff returns for Republic
Duff returns for Republic.

Newcastle midfielder Damien Duff has been recalled to the Republic of Ireland squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against Cyprus.

The 29-year-old missed last month's victory over Georgia and the draw with Montenegro as he battled to shake off a knee injury, and has been handed an immediate return to a 21-man party by manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

However, Steve Finnan, Steven Reid and Stephen Kelly have not been selected in because of fitness problems.

That will come as a blow to Trapattoni, who named Espanyol full-back Finnan and Blackburn midfielder Reid in the starting line up for both of the opening qualifiers.

There is a return to the squad too for Scunthorpe keeper Joe Murphy, who will provide the back-up to Shay Given and Dean Kiely.

The Republic head into their third Group 8 game, at Croke Park next Wednesday evening, having beaten Georgia 2-1 in Mainz, Germany, and then returned from Montenegro with a hard-earned point after a 0-0 draw in Podgorica.

Cyprus, who face the Georgians in Tbilisi on Saturday - the Ireland game was played at a neutral venue because of the political situation in the former Soviet state - were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at home to world champions Italy in their opening fixture last month.

They have a history with the Republic after a 5-2 victory in Nicosia in October 2006 left Steve Staunton's side facing a losing battle to qualify for Euro 2008.

The sides drew 1-1 at Croke Park in the return game a year later, when Finnan's injury-time strike secured a point, but the damage had already been done.

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Topics:
Steve Finnan
Internationals
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Scunthorpe United
Dean Kiely
Joe Murphy
Shay Given
Steven Reid
Stephen Finnan
Damien Duff
Stephen Kelly

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