Mick McCarthy names Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers
Ireland play Gibraltar and Georgia at the end of the month.
Mick McCarthy has announced his first Republic of Ireland squad in his second stint as manager.
Ireland get their Euro 2020 qualification campaign underway with two games later this month. The national team travels to play Gibraltar on March 23, before taking on Georgia in Dublin on March 26.
With Denmark and Switzerland playing against each other on the same night Ireland host Georgia, the opening two games represent a chance for McCarthy's side to get six points and open a lead in Group D.
Here is the provisional squad, named by McCarthy in Dublin on Thursday.
BREAKING: Mick McCarthy has named his provisional squad for the upcoming @UEFAEURO European Qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia!
Get your tickets for the Georgia game here
➡️ https://t.co/gAjsxK5ZUd #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/e7sfb1fXpt
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) March 7, 2019
James Collins has been rewarded for his fine form with Luton Town with a call-up to the Ireland squad. The 28-year-old striker has scored 20-goals in 39 games for the League One side this season, helping them to the top of the table and in contention for promotion to the Championship.
Collins, who represented Ireland at Under-19 and Under-21 levels, is from Coventry and qualifies for Ireland through his Irish-born mother. McCarthy and his assistant coaches, Terry Connor and Robbie Keane, have scouted the striker on several occasions over the last few months.
There is also a place for Padraig Amond.
After a disastrous 2018 for the Ireland team, the players and new management will be hoping to get some points on the board against the two teams who are not expected to advance from the group.
Ireland last scored a goal in a competitive game last September - when Shaun Williams scored a consolation goal in a 4-1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff. They have not won a competitive match since October 2017, when they beat Wales in Cardiff 1-0.