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10th Oct 2020

A new-look Ireland XI to kick-start this new era against Wales

Patrick McCarry


Lots of rejigging needed for Stephen Kenny, and ourselves.

The Republic of Ireland squad did not have too much time to dwell on their crushing penalty shoot-out lose to Slovakia. 66 hours and one flight back to Dublin later, they are back in action against Wales.

Stephen Kenny’s Ireland side have a home tie with Wales in the Nations League as a distraction and, for all the talk of positive playing style, a win of any shade would be very much welcomed.

Kenny is likely to make a number of changes as his side played 120 minutes against the Slovakians on Thursday evening. He has confirmed that David McGoldrick is out of the picture for Ireland’s next two games:

With Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly also ruled out, due to being close contacts with a member of the Irish backroom team that tested positove for Covid-19, Kenny is short of three solid frontline options.

Daryl Horgan and Seani Maguire, who both played under Kenny when he was Dunfermline boss, have both been called into the squad for the games against Wales and [on Wednesday] away to Finland.

Even with both lads coming in, Shane Long looks the best bet to lead the Irish line and we would go with Callum O’Dowda, who impressed off the bench in Slovakia, and Callum Robinson in support of long.

Our goalkeeper and defence is unchanged and we are asking a lot from all five men, but reckon Kenny will ask them to step up again. In midfield, Josh Cullen can do the James McCarthy holding role while we are going with Jeff Hendrick and, to try create more goalscoring chances, Jack Byrne.

Our Ireland XI to face Wales

That leaves the likes of Horgan and Maguire in reserve, along with the likes of James McClean, Robbie Brady, Conor Hourihane, Kevin Long, Cyrus Christie, Alan Browne and Derrick Williams.

Kenny is 0 from 3 in his first three matches as Ireland boss. As much as there were huge positives in the manner of how Ireland played against Slovakia, another game without a win would dent this squad even further, especially with an away trip to Oslo looming.

Euro 2021 is now a dashed dream. Sunday can hopefully kick-start this new era with a win against our familiar Welsh rivals.