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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 16 November, 2019
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Connolly starts as McCarthy names his Irish team to face Switzerland

There are three changes, including Conor Hourihane’s making way for Alan Browne.

Aaron Connolly during his substitute appearance for Ireland in Georgia last Saturday.
Aaron Connolly during his substitute appearance for Ireland in Georgia last Saturday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

AARON CONNOLLY WILL make his first senior international start for Ireland in tonight’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland. 

Connolly’s introduction is one of three changes made to the side that struggled to a goalless draw against Georgia, with Callum Robinson dropping to the bench. Elsewhere, Alan Browne replaces Conor Hourihane and Enda Stevens returns from suspension in place of Matt Doherty at left-back. 

Ireland are starting a game with a back three for the first time under McCarthy, as he confirmed to RTÉ ahead of kick-off he has switched to a 3-5-2 formation to match the Swiss. It means Enda Stevens is likely to play along with John Egan and Shane Duffy at centre-back, with James McClean at left wing-back. 

Seamus Coleman will play on the right flank, with a midfield trio of Whelan, Hendrick and Browne. James Collins partners Aaron Connolly up front. 

The Irish team in full: 

Randolph; Coleman; Duffy, Egan, Stevens; McClean; Hendrick, Browne, Whelan; Connolly, Collins

A win would secure Euro 2020 qualification for Ireland with a game to spare. Otherwise they will have to beat Denmark in the group’s final game to qualify, although a draw tonight would mean the Danes would qualify for the finals prior to coming to Dublin should they beat Gibraltar in their penultimate game. 

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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