Shane Supple believes Mark Travers was "unfortunate" on the night he got his big chance with the Republic of Ireland, but he's confident the Bournemouth goalkeeper will force his way back into the battle to be Stephen Kenny's No 1.

All the talk over the last 12 months has been about Gavin Bazunu, 19, and Caoimhin Kelleher, 23, two gifted young stoppers who have impressed whenever they've been called upon.

Bazunu, currently on loan at League One Portsmouth, has had a remarkable year with Ireland after being handed a first start in the 1-0 home defeat to Luxembourg last March. The Dubliner's display was the only positive for Kenny on an awful evening, and Bazunu has gone from strength to strength ever since.

However he only got his opportunity after Travers had endured a tough outing in Serbia, where Ireland lost 3-2. Aleksandar Mitrovic caught the keeper out with a long-distance chip and Travers looked nervous throughout, but his response to that setback has been strong.

The Maynooth man is arguably the most in-form goalkeeper of the three right now. He's performing regularly, and impressively, for a Bournemouth side who are top of the Championship table, with a real shot at making it back to the Premier League.

Ex-Ipswich Town and Bohs man Supple has been impressed.

Shane Supple: "Mark could have easily folded."

"We're lucky with where we're at with the two lads there but the other one not to forget is Mark Travers, who has played the most games out of all of them," he told the RTÉ Soccer Podcast.

"He was unlucky when he came in against Serbia in that game. We could be having a completely different conversation now around Mark and him being the No 1 for Ireland. It was just unfortunate the way that worked out, but I've always rated Mark since I first saw him as a young kid.

"A lot of it comes down to a bit of luck as well. I think Gavin has been lucky at times. He's got away with some things that maybe Mark mightn't have got away with, or didn't get away with, in the Serbia game.

"There's one or two times Gavin has tried to play it out and it wasn't on, where he probably got away with it - definitely in that Portugal game away from home. It could have been a completely different outlook on the game and maybe on Gavin going forward.

"Mark, on the other side of it, probably didn't get away with some of the decisions he made and he didn't look as settled or as comfortable in that Serbia game.

"That's a brilliant sign, that strength of character which you need as a goalkeeper. I think they all have that."

"But the way I'd look at it with Mark is how he's come back from that at club level, and showed the type of temperament he has. Unfortunately in goalkeeping there's going to be times when you are the idiot and the clown - it's how you come back from that.

"That's what I've been really impressed with in Mark, how he's come back from it. He could have easily folded, dropped down the levels or whatever. He hasn't. He's re-established himself in the Bournemouth team. That's a brilliant sign, that strength of character which you need as a goalkeeper. I think they all have that."

Although Supple believes Bazunu has got the rub of the green at times, he was still effusive in his praise for the teenager.

"I've seen a lot more of Bazunu [than Kelleher]... and from what I've seen of him I've been really impressed," he added.

"He looks like a natural. Technically he looks very good, his handling is excellent. Shot-stopping is a given for any keeper these days so you wouldn't even need to touch on that, but we saw what he is capable of with that unbelievable save he made the last time [against Luxembourg away].

"Because he's the youngest of all the keepers we have at the moment, he's shown massive maturity which I've been really impressed with. I'd have come across him when I was playing with Bohs.

"We played Rovers and he didn't play. I think it was on the back end of him getting four games in the team where they didn't concede a goal. They'd brought in Alan Mannus at that stage but Gavin was still involved on the bench. I was quite impressed with how he handled that at such a young age.

"He'd be my kind of keeper."

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