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Football: JOB'S NOT POISIONED CHALICE.

Byline: By JOE DANIELS

MATT HOLLAND has rubbished the notion Ireland's next manager will inherit a poison chalice.

The doom-mongers have queued up in sackcloth and ashes in the wake of World Cup failure pointing to the retirement of top stars Roy Keane, Kenny Cunningham and Steve Carr.

But the Charlton midfielder rattles off six names without hesitation as reasons Irish fans should be cheerful - and why Brian Kerr's successor won't exactly be scraping the bottom of a barrel.

He noted: "Don't forget we've still got the nucleus of a side that has come together into their prime. They've played a lot of games now, have got a lot of experience and they're not very old.

"If you're picking a team there's Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Andy O'Brien, John O'Shea, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane.

"There's six names that you can put straight into your team.

"Then you've got the Under-21s with some good young players coming through.

"Stephen Kelly has done a gone job at right-back for Tottenham. Liam Miller at Manchester United is another decent player.

"It's inevitable when you get to the end of any campaign some players call it a day and to lose those three is a shame because they have an awful lot of experience between them."

Holland is cagey regarding his own international future and will only go as far as grinning: "The next match in February is the big one for me ... because I'm on 49 caps.

"But I won't make another World Cup, that's for sure. I'll be 36 by the time the next one comes around."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2005
Words:269
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