Kelleher will start in goal |...


Kelleher will start in goal | Stephen Kenny

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny says Caoimhín Kelleher will start in goal against Belgium. 

The Liverpool keeper is also in line to play the game against Lithuania next Tuesday.

Gavin Bazunu - who has become the number one under Kenny - is out due to illness.

Kenny was clear in his intentions around the goalkeeping position, when asked at a press briefing today.

"Caoimhín will definitely start. That's absolutely right, for sure," the manager told the assembled media.

"He'll most likely play the two matches now, I think it's fair to say, and deservedly so."

Kenny says it's a good opportunity for the Cork native, who has had limited opportunities at international level.

He did feature against Qatar last October, but Bazunu has generally been Kenny's first-choice.

At club level, Kelleher's stock rose even further following his decisive penalty conversion against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final last month.

“He's had to be patient because of an unfortunate injury," Kenny said of Kelleher's international involvement.

"He missed the last March camp with injury and Gavin Bazunu has come in and been absolutely outstanding. Outstanding.

"We're on a run of four and a half games now consecutively without conceding a goal - and Caoimhín has played his part in that because he played against Qatar.

"In Caoimhín's two matches to date against Qatar and Hungary, he hasn't conceded a goal, so he deserves his chance because he's been absolutely excellent."

Captain Seamus Coleman also spoke highly of Ireland's goalkeeping department.

"To be completely honest with you, they are two exceptional goalkeepers," the Donegal man said.

"What we see in training on a daily basis from both of them is to a very, very high standard."

Tomorrow's game at the Aviva Stadium kicks off at 5pm.

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Aviva Stadium Belgium Caoimhin Kelleher Football Gavin Bazunu Ireland Republic Of Ireland Soccer Stephen Kenny

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