Injury forces Kennedy out

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WOLVES winger Mark Kennedy has been forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad for this summer's World Cup finals through injury.

The former Liverpool and Manchester City ace suffered a recurrence of the nagging groin injury in Tuesday's Niall Quinn testimonial with Sunderland.

Kennedy scored in the game, but he suffered a reaction to the injury and has ruled himself out of the finals.

The left winger informed Ireland boss Mick McCarthy that he would not be able to travel to the Far East as he was not fit enough.

Kennedy, who turned 26 on Wednesday, had only just recovered from an operation on his groin which had ruled him for a month, and the news will be a hammer blow to him and McCarthy.

Millwall's Steven Reid has been called-up to replace Kennedy, a former Lions star, in the squad.

The talented midfielder admitted he was delighted to get the call at the last-minute, but it could have so different as he was preparing to go on holiday after being left out of the original squad.

"I had booked a holiday a couple of days ago to Barbados," reid told the club's official website. "My brother picked me up this morning to take us to the airport, I turned my mobile on and there was a message from Mick McCarthy to ring him and he said that I'm going to Japan."

"To be in the Irish squad is a massive bonus and to play a second or a minute in the World Cup would be a dream come true."