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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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‘Aaron is getting game time in the Premier League now. He was unlucky not to score at Newcastle’

Mick McCarthy was impressed with Kieran Sadlier, Sean Maguire and Aaron Connolly this weekend.

Brighton and Ireland U21 striker Aaron Connolly.
Brighton and Ireland U21 striker Aaron Connolly.
Image: Gareth Fuller

MICK MCCARTHY’S THOUGHTS are firmly focussed on his attacking options ahead of next month’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier away to Georgia.

The Ireland manager will name his squad for Tblisi next Tuesday, as the Boys in Green seek to maintain top spot in Group D after their last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to Switzerland a fortnight ago.

David McGoldrick scored his first senior international goal against the Swiss, but the 31-year-old has emerged as a potential injury doubt after missing Sheffield United’s victory over Everton.

With that in mind, McCarthy was in attendance to see Kieran Sadlier score his third goal of the season for Doncaster Rovers on Saturday during a 2-0 win over Peterborough.

The 25-year-old former Cork City attacker joined the League One club in December 2018 and has enjoyed a positive first year at Keepmoat Stadium.

“I’ll name the squad for Georgia and Switzerland on Tuesday week and I wanted to have a look at Kieran for myself,” McCarthy told FAI.ie.

“Terry Connor had heard good things about him from the Doncaster coaching staff and our scouts had seen him but I wanted to have a look at him with my own two eyes.

mick-mccarthy Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will name his squad next Tuesday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“I know all about the other options available to us so this trip to Doncaster made sense. Kieran played well. He’s been operating on the right side of late having started the season as a centre-forward and he took his goal well.”

McCarthy was also present at St Andrew’s on Saturday to see Sean Maguire score his third goal of the campaign for Preston North End.

Back in action following a freak eye injury which ruled him out of the recent internationals against Switzerland and Bulgaria, Maguire has now found the back of the net on successive weekends.

Sean scored again as well, which is great news,” McCarthy said.

“He was very unlucky with the injury that kept him out of the Swiss and Bulgaria games, so it’s good to see him back and in the goals again while Callum Robinson is also fit and back in the Sheffield United team.”

Ireland U21 striker Aaron Connolly made his second Premier League appearance for Brighton this weekend too.

kieran-sadlier-celebrates-with-sean-maguire-after-the-game Former Cork City team-mates Sadlier and Maguire were both on target on Saturday. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The Galway native, who stood out for Stephen Kenny’s U21s in recent wins over Armenia and Sweden, came agonisingly close to his first senior goal for the Seagulls after coming off the bench away to Newcastle at St James’.

Aaron was the one who really caught the eye with the 21s against Armenia,” McCarthy commented. “He is getting game time in the Premier League now with Brighton which will really benefit him and us and he was unlucky not to score at Newcastle.”

Rising Tottenham star Troy Parrott also stood out for the U21s this month, scoring against Armenia before notching an impressive double off the bench against Sweden.

McCarthy is keeping tabs on the 17-year-old and said his team will watch him in action for Spurs’ U23s against Blackburn, or else against Colchester should Parrott be called up to Mauricio Pochettinio’s senior squad for their League Cup fixture tomorrow.

Left-back is also an area of focus for McCarthy ahead of next month’s meeting with Georgia. After picking up a yellow card in Dublin against the Swiss, Enda Stevens will be suspended for the trip to Tblisi.

enda-stevens Enda Stevens is suspended for next month's Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“With Enda Stevens suspended for the Georgia game, we are looking at left-back options,” the Ireland boss added.

Terry saw Greg [Cunningham] play there for Blackburn, we had James [McClean] watched for Stoke and I saw Ryan Manning play for QPR against Luton last week.”

Ireland are currently top of Group D with five games played, securing home and away wins against Gibraltar, beating Georgia in Dublin and drawing 1-1 with Denmark and Switzerland.

With Georgia holding Denmark to a 0-0 stalemate, McCarthy’s men have opened up a two-point lead at the top of the table.

A Conor Hourihane free-kick at Lansdowne Road was enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Georgia at the end of March.

Facing off in qualification for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, the Boys in Green have not lost to next month’s opponents in five previous meetings.

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Aaron Gallagher

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