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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

First Ireland start for Blackburn defender as O'Neill names side to face the North

Robbie Brady also returns after his injury absence, with Glenn Whelan wearing the captain’s armband.

Paul Dollery reports from the Aviva Stadium

DARRAGH LENIHAN WILL make his first senior international start for the Republic of Ireland in tonight’s friendly against Northern Ireland (7.45pm).

The 24-year-old, who has been in good form this season for Blackburn Rovers, looks set to be part of a defensive trio that will also include Brighton’s Shane Duffy and John Egan of Sheffield United, who’ll be winning his fourth cap.

Darragh Lenihan Ireland and Blackburn Rovers defender Darragh Lenihan. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Lenihan’s only previous appearance for his country came in the 2-1 friendly victory over USA in June, when he was introduced as a substitute in place of John O’Shea.

Glenn Whelan, winning his 85th and final cap, will captain the team. Robbie Brady is back in the side for the first time in a year following his injury absence, while Preston North End’s Callum Robinson is tasked with leading the attack. 

The team shows six changes in personnel from the 1-0 defeat to Wales last month, with Darren Randolph, Shane Duffy, James McClean, Jeff Hendrick and Callum Robinson the five players who have retained their places.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Darren Randolph, Seamus Coleman, John Egan, Shane Duffy, Darragh Lenihan, James McClean, Glenn Whelan (captain), Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Callum O’Dowda, Callum Robinson. 
Subs: Colin Doyle, Caoimhín Kelleher, Cyrus Christie, Shaun Williams, Sean Maguire, Enda Stevens, Ronan Curtis, Conor Hourihane, Scott Hogan, Michael Obafemi, Kevin Long, Harry Arter.
NORTHERN IRELAND: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jamal Lewis, Jonny Evans, George Saville, Steven Davis (captain), Liam Boyce, Corry Evans, Stuart Dallas, Gavin Whyte, Craig Cathcart, Michael Smith. 
Subs: Michael McGovern, Conor Hazard, Conor McLaughlin, Gareth McAuley, Niall McGinn, Kyle Lafferty, Shane Ferguson, Jordan Jones, Paddy McNair, Aaron Hughes, Jamie Ward, Josh Magennis.

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Paul Dollery

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