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Dublin: 1°C Friday 5 March 2021

Shane Long ruled out of Ireland's must-win clash with Wales

The Southampton striker won’t play any part in tonight’s final Group D game in Cardiff.

- Ben Blake reports from Cardiff

IRELAND WILL BE without Shane Long for this evening’s World Cup qualifier away to Wales (7.45pm), it has emerged.

The Tipperary-born striker played 81 minutes in the win over Moldova on Friday and was in contention to start at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Shane Long Long training last night. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

However, the 30-year-old has been ruled out with a hip injury.

It has been a frustrating time for Southampton striker Long of late as he is without a goal for club or country since February. Long missed a couple of chances in the win over Moldova and manager Martin O’Neill revealed that the player himself said he “can’t buy a goal” at the moment.

With Jon Walters also injured, Daryl Murphy looks set to start up front against the Welsh. The Nottingham Forest is in fine form and bagged two goals on his 30th international appearance last week.

However, the 34-year-old is unlikely to last 90 minutes so there could be an opportunity for Sean Maguire and Scott Hogan to get some minutes in the must-win game.

Former Cork City forward Maguire, who is now at Preston North End, came on for Long to make his senior international debut against Moldova, while his fellow recent call-up, Aston Villa’s Hogan, has yet to earn a cap for the Boys in Green.

It was also confirmed this morning that Gareth Bale will definitely play no part for Wales tonight as he nurses a calf injury.

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Ben Blake

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