sport

O'Brien blow for Ireland

The Republic of Ireland have been dealt a blow with the news that West Ham defender Joey O'Brien has withdrawn from the squad through injury.

The 28-year-old, who met up with his international colleagues in Malahide on Sunday, is to return to his club for treatment on a knee injury.

O'Brien's withdrawal means manager Martin O'Neill now has 26 players at his disposal as he prepares for Wednesday night's friendly against Oman in Dublin and the opening European qualifier in Georgia on Sunday.

The Hammers player has now returned to London where he will undergo treatment for the problem.

"The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that Joey O'Brien has withdrawn from the Irish squad, and will return to his club for treatment on an ongoing knee problem," a FAI spokesman said.