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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 22 October 2020
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David McGoldrick ruled out of Wales and Finland games

James McCarthy is also doubtful for tomorrow’s home clash with Ryan Giggs’ side.

David McGoldrick, in action in Bratislava.
David McGoldrick, in action in Bratislava.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

DAVID MCGOLDRICK WILL miss tomorrow’s Uefa Nations League game with Wales and Wednesday’s clash with Finland with an adductor muscle injury. 

The injury further weakens Ireland’s forward ranks for the upcoming games, with Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly back at their clubs in England having been identified as close contacts of a Covid-positive member of the FAI travelling party in Bratislava. 

There has been no fresh call-up to the squad in place of McGoldrick, although Sean Maguire and Daryl Horgan – both of whom worked under Stephen Kenny at Dundalk – have been called up in place of Connolly and Idah. 

James McCarthy, meanwhile, is doubtful for tomorrow’s game with the injury that forced him off an hour into Thursday’s defeat to Slovakia. Stephen Kenny intimated McCarthy may feature against Finland even if he is ruled out of tomorrow’s game. 

Ireland have just one point from their opening two Nations League games, and need to win tomorrow if they are to have any hope of topping the group, which would earn promotion to League A and a potential back-door into the play-offs for World Cup qualification. 

While Ireland earned Thursday’s Euro 2020 play-off defeat through a wretched 2018 Nations League campaign, the format has been tweaked to allow only group winners the safety net of a play-off to the 2022 World Cup. 

The game will also count toward Ireland’s seeding in the World Cup draw. The draw will be made in December and will the seeding will be organised according to Fifa world ranking. Ireland are currently in pot three, but positive results in their closing Nations League fixtures offer them a chance to clamber to pot two. 

The game will be behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow afternoon, and although Kenny admits the setting and likelihood of rotation does not diminish the game’s importance.

“I’m not going to select my team here, but listen, we have a lot to consider. The players played 120 minutes, but at the same time, every international is very important and every international is significant in the lives of the players, albeit there isn’t a full house because of the current situation.

 “Some may think it dilutes the importance of it, but it shouldn’t, it still should be an occasion in itself, and all the players will want to play.

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“All the players are very proud to play for Ireland. They are hurting at the moment, they are hurting after losing the other night. It’s a huge disappointment to lose in the manner that we did because the players were absolutely excellent on the night, so we’ve got to review all of that.

“I’ve spoken about some of the injuries that we have and we will make decisions based on that.” 

Kenny says there are positives to be taken out of the performance in Slovakia, but he cannot escape the bitter taste of defeat. 

“The performance gives an indication of what to expect and to improve on that, but I’m not trying to spin a situation. We were very, very disappointed to lose and that is something that we just have to accept. 

“But the players themselves should be very proud of the performance, they played terrifically well.” 

Republic of Ireland squad vs Wales 

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Mark Travers, Caoimhin Kelleher 

Defenders: Matt Doherty, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, John Egan, Derrick Williams, Enda Stevens, Kevin Long

Midfielders: James McCarthy, Josh Cullen, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Conor Hourihane, Alan Browne, James McClean, Jack Byrne, Jayson Molumby 

Forwards: Daryl Horgan, Sean Maguire, Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda, Shane Long

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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