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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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Fringe players given chance as McCarthy takes surprise step of naming team to face New Zealand

As was expected, Troy Parrott will make his senior debut tomorrow night.

Troy Parrott in training today.
Troy Parrott in training today.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated at 20.44

MICK MCCARTHY HAS taken the surprise step of naming his Irish team a day in advance for tomorrow’s friendly with New Zealand. It’s the first time since Giovanni Trapattoni was in charge that an Irish team has officially been named a day ahead of a game. 

As advertised this morning, Troy Parrott makes his first senior appearance, and at 17 years and 283 days, becomes Ireland’s third-youngest international after Jimmy Holmes and Robbie Keane.

Celtic defender Lee O’Connor is also given a first senior international cap at right-back. He is included as he is suspended for the Irish U21 qualifier with Armenia tomorrow, and this is his first-ever appearance at first-team level for club or country. 

Jack Byrne makes his first senior start, as does goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara, who is presently on loan at Burton Albion from Manchester United. 

Kevin Long and Ciaran Clark will partner each other in defence, with Blackburn’s Derrick Williams selected at left-back. Josh Cullen and Alan Browne join Byrne in midfield, while Parrott leads the line with Robbie Brady and Seani Maguire flanking him. 

Given his previous track record for Ireland and the fact he is in need of some game-time, Brady is thought to be in the best position to perhaps force his way into McCarthy’s team to face Denmark in a winner-takes-all Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday night. 

The Burnely winger, meanwhile, has been confirmed to captain the side.

Kick-off against the All Whites is at 7.45pm tomorrow night, and tickets are still available. 

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Gavin Cooney

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