Ireland's Carr ruled out of qualifiers, O'Shea doubtful

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DUBLIN, Oct 9 (Reuters) Newcastle full-back Stephen Carr has been ruled out of Ireland's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Germany and Cyprus due to a hamstring problem, the FootballAssociation of Ireland (FAI) said today.

Carr, who has been absent for most of his country's qualifying campaign because of injury, will sit out the Group D clashes with pool leaders Germany on Saturday and Cyprus four days later after missing his club's win over Everton on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a question mark remains over Manchester United's John O'Shea, who has a thigh strain picked up during last weekend's 4-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic.

A no-show by O'Shea, capped 41 times, would be a major blow for Ireland manager Steve Staunton, already under fire for his side's poor campaign.

Ireland fans remain angry the side came away with one point from lacklustre encounters with Slovakia and Czech Republic last month, almost certainly ending their chances of qualification.

Staunton, who is contracted until the next World Cup, has added Bolton Wanderers centre-back Andy O'Brien to his 25-man squad to provide defensive cover for O'Shea.

Saturday's qualifier at Dublin's Croke Park will mean a bumper payday for the FAI who are set to take in around 12 million euros (.85 million) -- including ticket sales, television rights and perimeter advertising -- making it the most lucrative match in Irish football history.

Irish media reported the FAI had netted more than 5 million euros alone for German broadcast rights to the game.

Reuters SSC DB2051

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