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Do you agree with our Ireland team to face Ukraine?

The Boys in Green have been bolstered by a big win over Scotland on Saturday.

The Irish team, pictured above as they lined out against Scotland.
The Irish team, pictured above as they lined out against Scotland.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Jun 13th 2022, 8:01 PM

Goalkeeper and Defence

IRELAND GOT themselves in trouble on more than one occasion trying to play out from the back against Scotland, and while it was not Kelleher giving the ball away, he might be better advised to go long on a more regular basis in Lodz. Barring a last-minute injury, the Liverpool stopper will almost certainly make his sixth successive start for the Boys in Green, with Mark Travers and Max O’Leary again held in reserve.

The defence is less straightforward than usual. Shane Duffy is suspended, while John Egan will also miss out after withdrawing from the squad for family reasons.

Burnley’s Nathan Collins will almost certainly play again, having impressed in the international window thus far, while Dara O’Shea is expected to come in for Duffy. Darragh Lenihan looks set to join them — the 28-year-old Blackburn player is in line to win just his third cap and first since the 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland in 2018.  Jimmy Dunne, who was only called up yesterday, will make the bench with no other centre-backs to choose from in the squad.

Midfield

The three-man midfield of Josh Cullen, Jason Knight and Jayson Molumby were key to Ireland’s rejuvenation on Saturday, and so Kenny may be tempted to go with the same trio again for the match with Ukraine in Lodz.

Aside from the goalkeeper and back three, Cullen is the only player to start all of Ireland’s Nations League matches so far. Kenny hinted at the weekend that he may rest the Anderlecht player and if that proves to be the case, Conor Hourihane is the most likely individual to come into that sitting midfield role, having deputised for Cullen there in the past. Jeff Hendrick is the other obvious player who could come in, but the Newcastle man has looked sluggish at times in this window and may be better suited to being introduced off the bench, as he was on Saturday.

Out wide, James McClean was one of Ireland’s best performers at the weekend and should retain his place as he appeared relatively fresh, having not started either of the two previous Nations League games, with Enda Stevens and Ryan Manning the potential alternatives.

Similarly, Alan Browne acquitted himself admirably against the Scots and is developing a knack for scoring important goals, having found the net both on Saturday and during the recent friendly draw with Belgium. With Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman both still unavailable, Cyrus Christie and Festy Ebosele are among the viable wing-back alternatives at Kenny’s disposal.

Attack

All going well, Kenny would ideally have been hoping to keep the strike partnership of Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi intact, after they linked up so impressively at the weekend.

However, Obafemi is not expected to play after coming off with a groin injury in the Scottish game, so he may be left with no choice but to make a change.

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Scott Hogan replaced him after 56 minutes at the Aviva, and the Birmingham star arguably should have had his first Ireland goal, with the officials deciding his shot had not crossed the line after a VAR check in the absence of goalline technology.

Chiedozie Ogbene missed the Scotland game through injury, and even if he is available to start, may fit less seamlessly into a two-man forward line than the three he is more used to, assuming Kenny sticks with the same system.

Callum Robinson has been one of Ireland’s more disappointing performers in this window and might again have to be content with a place on the bench, while chances have been limited so far for CJ Hamilton and Will Keane and that trend will probably continue on Tuesday.

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Paul Fennessy

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