McGeady: I can't wait for Euro 2012

PA Sport
Aiden McGeady

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Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady has admitted the prospect of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 adventure is keeping him awake with excitement.

The 25-year-old Spartak Moscow winger was a key member of the side which secured qualification for Giovanni Trapattoni's men in a comfortable play-off victory over Estonia in November, and now he cannot wait for the tournament to begin.

Asked if he thinks about the finals every day, McGeady said: "Yes, to be honest with you, I do. I wake up at night dreaming about it. It's that sort of hallowed ground that you want to get to a major finals."

He added: "The thing is, we have qualified but now you have to just make sure you stay fit and give yourself the best possible chance to shine at the Euros.

"Everyone is just absolutely buzzing for it. We are still on a high, really, from November, everyone is still buzzing about it and really looking forward to the first gathering up at the end of May and then the Championships themselves. It's going to be fantastic."

Ireland will begin their preparations for the summer festivities in Poland and Ukraine with a friendly against the Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night, and will face Bosnia-Herzegovina in Dublin on May 26 and Hungary in Budapest on June 4 before heading into a daunting series of fixtures in Eastern Europe.

The Republic open their Group C campaign against Croatia in Poznan before tackling reigning World and European champions Spain in Gdansk and then Trapattoni's native Italy back in Poznan. However, while the draw could have been kinder, McGeady and his team-mates will embark upon their adventure convinced their stay could be extended beyond the group stage.

The former Celtic midfielder said: "To be honest, the fact that we are there speaks volumes. We weren't expected to qualify and we did. Now that we are there, we are going to try to do everything we can to get out of the group.

"We are obviously in a very tough group, but our record has been good against Italy in the last few years, and Croatia, we played them here not too long ago and drew 0-0. Spain, obviously everyone is talking about them. They are the favourites to win the competition. But it's not totally unrealistic for us to get out of the group. We will give ourselves every chance."

The Football Association of Ireland confirmed on Monday evening that goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (wrist) and defender Stephen Kelly (thigh) have withdrawn from the squad, with Portsmouth keeper Stephen Henderson drafted in. Assistant boss Marco Tardelli is hopeful Keith Fahey and Kevin Doyle will shake off knocks.

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