Parrott, O'Connor and Byrne confirmed to start against New Zealand
Mick's picked a mix.
Mick McCarthy has confirmed that he'll be handing full debuts to Troy Parrott and Lee O'Connor in tomorrow's friendly, while Shamrock Rovers' Jack Byrne will also be awarded a starting berth against New Zealand.
McCarthy had hinted during the week that he would be using the fixture as an opportunity to blood young players and give game time to others, although it seems unlikely that anyone who features on Thursday night will play any role in the crucial Euro 2020 Qualifier against Denmark on Monday.
Calls for Parrott to be included in the Senior set-up have grown since the beginning of the season, as the Spurs starlet has impressed at underage level for both club and country in recent months in particular. Lee O'Connor's move to Celtic over the summer and subsequent run of form also sees him rewarded
Speaking ahead of the friendly fixture on Thursday, Mick made it clear that these aren't one-off games and a do or die situation for the debutants;
"I tell all of them, one game doesn't define (your international career). There might have been a few that had one game and never played again, I may well have played some of those as well. But that's not for Troy, Troy's just a young lad who'll need the help of everybody else, and he'll get that as well in terms of what I say to him. He's got a bright future ahead of him, let's hope he stays fit and well and he can enjoy it."
Jack Byrne, off the back of a commanding season for Shamrock Rovers that involved ending a 32-year wait for a FAI Cup title, grabbed his international opportunity with both hands against a ragged Bulgaria side last month. McCarthy, when asked if he would give licence to Byrne to impose his own game against the All-Whites, was quick to heap praise on the young midfielder;
"Depends what he thinks his own game is I guess! I want him to do what he does for Shamrock Rovers, which is he gets hold of the ball, he passes it, he creates chances, he keeps the ball moving, he recycles it for others and doesn't give it away. His free kicks and corner deliveries are good, and his penalties are excellent having seen the one in the cup final, that was a great penalty. I want him to show... Look it's not Denmark, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a big international game, New Zealand are treating it as a big international game. So for Jack, it will be. For him to showcase what he's got."
Outside of Aaron Connolly, who was ruled out of the game against Denmark on Monday, McCarthy reported a clean bill of health as the build-up to Ireland's biggest game of the year continues.