Sunday 22 October 2017

Here are the teams Ireland should start against Moldova and Wales

Ireland face two massive games in the next four days
Ireland face two massive games in the next four days
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

All the hysteria surrounding permutations and Gareth Bale's injury will account for very little should Ireland fail to put Group D minnows Moldova to the sword tonight.

Roy Keane, rightly, dismissed any talk of Monday's Cardiff clash with Wales when he faced the media this week and the Corkman is in the game long enough to know that three points against the basement boys is not a foregone conclussion.

While the Boys In Green's hopes received a massive boost with Scotland's last-gasp win over Slovakia at Hampden Park last night, qualification is still out of our own hands.

History also tells us that the Moldovans will be no pushovers.

Ireland had to wait until the 69th minute to find a second goal when the teams met in Chișinău last year after the home side shocked O'Neill's men with an equaliser on the stroke of half time to cancel out Shane Long's opener.

Long has not found the target since in a green jersey and the problems Ireland have up front have led to Martin O'Neill adding attacking options Sean Maguire, Scott Hogan and Millwall's Aiden O'Brien to his squad.

While Hogan looks certain to see some game time over the next 180 minutes of football, Long should take his place as Ireland's lead attacker despite his form in front of goal. Maguire will be eagerly waiting in the wings and with the former Corkman in good form at Preston, he should be make his Irish debut at some point.

The back four picks itself but O'Neill may take the precautionary measure of resting Shane Duffy for the Moldova game as he is one booking away from a suspension.

With Wes Hoolahan seemingly unable to complete two 90 minutes in such a short turnaround, expect him to sit one of the two out with Ireland fans hoping that Cardiff is where we will see the industrious playmaker.

Here is the team O'Neill should start against Moldova:

Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie, Kevin Long, Ciaran Clarke, Stephen Ward, David Meyler, Jeff Hendrick, Aiden McGeady, Callum O'Dowda, Shane Long, Daryl Murphy

Team1.JPG

And for Wales:

Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clarke, Stephen Ward, James McClean, Jeff Hendrick, David Meyler, Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan, Shane Long

Team2.JPG

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