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The 10 Ireland players in danger of missing the second Denmark game through suspension

James McClean and Darren Randolph are among the individuals on a yellow card from previous games.

James McClean is one of 10 players who could potentially miss the second leg against Denmark.
James McClean is one of 10 players who could potentially miss the second leg against Denmark.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

ONE OF THE big talking points in Monday’s Ireland-Denmark press conference was the possibility of players missing the second leg of the game at the Aviva Stadium through suspension.

In addition to long-term absentee Seamus Coleman, Ireland are already without Sean Maguire, James McCarthy, Richard Keogh and Jon Walters owing to injury, while David Meyler is suspended for the first leg of the upcoming game in Copenhagen, having picked up a second yellow card of the campaign against Wales in Cardiff.

Though he was hopeful the player would be available, Martin O’Neill was yesterday unable to confirm that Jeff Hendrick would be fit in time for the first leg, having come off injured after 65 minutes of Burnley’s Premier League clash with Southampton at the weekend.

Consequently, Ireland have enough problems as it is, so they could do without being depleted further for their vital home fixture with the Danes.

Those potentially absent for the game on 14 November include Ireland’s entire first-choice back five.

The full list of players who will miss the second leg against Denmark if they pick up a booking in the first game are as follows:

  • Darren Randolph
  • Cyrus Christie
  • Shane Duffy
  • Ciaran Clark
  • Stephen Ward
  • Glenn Whelan
  • Harry Arter
  • Aiden McGeady
  • James McClean
  • Daryl Murphy

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill lamented this issue, and suggested bookings should not carry through from the group stages to the play-offs. He added that this situation was one of the downsides to playing the second leg at home, despite having the return fixture at the Aviva generally being perceived as an advantage for the Boys in Green.

“I don’t think it’s possible to be able to deal with it, because players who are on yellow cards have to be careful, but even players who feel as if they are going strongly for a period of time, they might pick it up,” the Ireland boss said.

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“It seems a wee bit strange to have 10 games (in qualifying) and then find out (yellow cards still carry over into the play-offs).

To have played 10 games, if you’d asked both countries, they’d have accepted an armistice and turned around and said: ‘Scrap the yellow cards (rule).’

“But it’s there. It happens. And almost inevitably, you’re going to lose some players with the second yellow.”

Meanwhile, one of those individuals on a booking, Ciaran Clark, said that himself and others must not go into the Copenhagen game feeling unduly concerned about the possibility of picking up a yellow card and missing out on the match in Dublin three days later.

“We can’t go out there worrying about (yellow cards). We want to try to avoid silly bookings, but you’ve got to put that to the back of your mind and try to play our normal game.

“We’ll play the first game and see what happens. There’s real competition through the squad. So if someone gets suspended, there’ll be someone else there to come in and play the second game.”

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Paul Fennessy

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