Updated at 19.45
JAMES MCCARTHY HAS dropped out of the Ireland team to play Wales in tonight’s World Cup qualifier at the last minute.
The Everton midfielder has been out of action since the start of the month due to a recurring hamstring injury but, having returned to full training on Wednesday, he was named in Martin O’Neill’s starting line-up.
After the warm-up, however, David Meyler emerged from the tunnel to take his place in the side.
Without nine senior players for the game, the Ireland boss has gone with an experienced starting XI. West Ham’s Darren Randolph is between the sticks once again, with captain Seamus Coleman and Stephen Ward occupying the full-back positions. John O’Shea partners Richard Keogh at centre-half.
McCarthy will join Glenn Whelan and Jeff Hendrick in what’s likely to be a three-man midfield, meaning James McClean and Jon Walters will play out wide behind lone striker Shane Long.
Welsh boss Chris Coleman has reverted to his tried-and-trusted 3-5-2 formation by picking the same side that beat Belgium 3-1 at Euro 2016 last summer.
IRELAND: Randolph; Coleman (c), Keogh, O’Shea, Ward; Whelan, Meyler; Walters Hendrick, McClean; Long.
WALES: Hennessey; Davies Chester, Williams (c); Gunter, Ledley, Allen, Ramsey, Taylor; Bale, Robson-Kanu.