Robbie Keane is a serious doubt for the Euros

The skipper has been forced to pull out of the friendly against Belarus in Cork tonight with a calf injury and gaffer Martin O’Neill says our greatest ever goalscorer is now a serious concern for the tournament.

Keane pulled up during a training session on Saturday morning and watched from the stands as the team prepared in Cork yesterday evening.

With Martin O’Neill having to submit his final 23-man squad immediately after the game tonight Keane’s selection is no longer certain.

Keane was due to start against Belarus, along with Daryl Murphy of Ipswich, but the fact that Kevin Doyle, who has been placed on standby, will stay with his club, Colorado Rapids, does indicate, however, that Keane will still be named in the 23 unless a further diagnosis reveals a more serious injury.

Even if fully fit, he is unlikely to start tournament opener against Sweden on 13 June.

Speaking about Keane’s chances of making the trip to France, O Neill said.

“We all did a bit of training on Saturday and he felt his calf, so we will look at it on a daily basis.

“I genuinely don’t know at the moment.

“He had a little injection to see how it settles down and we will see how he is.

“Obviously he would have been coming with us, definitely, as captain of the side but we will see how he is again.

“As he said himself, he is still pretty upbeat and positive.”

A further worry is the Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, who was man of the match in only his second appearance for the Republic in the 1-1 draw against Holland on Friday night.

He limped out of the session on Monday night during an 11-a-side game clutching his thigh, placing another question mark over his inclusion for the tournament. After was brought to a nearby clinic at the end of training for a scan on the injury and will certainly not be risked against Belarus.

In better news on the injury front, James McCarthy trained for the first time since joining the team seven days ago as he continues to recover from a thigh problem.

The Everton midfielder trained away from the rest of the squad on Monday and will play no part this evening. He will be in the 23 providing there was no reaction to the injury overnight.

O’Neill’s decision to delay his squad announcement until the final minutes before Uefa’s 11pm deadline tonight was influenced by the participation of some of his players in the play-offs, but he will still need to break the bad news to the five who fail to make the cut when the final whistle goes at around 9.40pm.