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O'Dowda scores on return from three-month absence, McCarthy's unbeaten run comes to an end

The Bristol City winger had been out since December.

Bristol City's Callum O'Dowda (file pic).
Bristol City's Callum O'Dowda (file pic).
Image: PA

CALLUM O’DOWDA HAS boosted his prospects of playing a role from the outset of the Republic of Ireland’s bid to qualify for the World Cup.

O’Dowda was back in the Bristol City squad today for the first time since he was sidelined by a hamstring injury last December.

Within a minute of being introduced as a 76th-minute substitute, the winger scored his side’s third goal in a 3-0 win at Birmingham City.

The 25-year-old will hope to add to his tally of 23 senior caps when Ireland begin their qualification campaign for Qatar 2022 away to Serbia on 24 March.

Elsewhere today in the Championship, Mick McCarthy suffered his first defeat as manager of Cardiff City in their home game against Watford.

A stoppage-time goal from Adam Masina clinched a 2-1 victory for the visitors against the Welsh outfit, who had been undefeated in 11 games since the former Ireland boss took charge in January. 

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Paul Dollery

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