Thursday 21 November 2019

Shane Long axed from Ireland squad for crunch qualifier while James McCarthy out for 'personal reasons'

Ireland's Shane Long. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland's Shane Long. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Mick McCarthy says he will give Robbie Brady a chance to prove himself in next week's friendly at home to New Zealand before he finalises plans for the key Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark.

But while McCarthy has named injury concern Darren Randolph in his final squad, once again there's no place in the travelling party for Shane Long and James McCarthy (personal reasons), while Ryan Manning's hopes of a senior debut have been dashed as he's failed to make the squad, though the uncapped Lee O'Connor (Celtic) has been drafted in despite not making the provisional squad.

The absence of Manning (QPR) is curious as McCarthy had hinted at a possible debut against New Zealand.

McCarthy today trimmed down his 39-man squad to a 28-strong panel for the double header at home to New Zealand and Denmark, Troy Parrott, as expected, staying with the seniors after promotion from the U21s, but Southampton man Long has again been omitted.

Keiren Westwood, Caoimhín Kelleher, Cyrus Christie, Ryan Manning, Darragh Lenihan, Nathan Collins, James McCarthy, Aiden O'Brien, Kieran Sadlier, Ronan Curtis, Shane Long and Michael Obafemi were all axed from the provisional squad.

And McCarthy says he will use the New Zealand game to give precious game time to players who need it. "Robbie [Brady] was left out last month simply because he had only played three minutes in the Premier League all season when I named the squad," McCarthy told

"He is back involved with the Burnley first team now and getting game time and his involvement is a real boost to us ahead of the match against Denmark because of the quality he brings to the team.

"I will give Robbie time against New Zealand to get ready for Denmark. He is one of the players in the squad who will really benefit from the New Zealand game before we play the Danes.

"Ciaran [Clark] is in the same boat. He had to get back with Newcastle before he could back with us but he is playing well for them now and I was impressed with him against West Ham last Saturday.

"David McGoldrick's return is the big bonus for all of us. Everyone knows how well he has done for us in the European Championship games he has played this year and he has been brilliant for his club in recent weeks."

Darren Randolph, Matt Doherty and Glenn Whelan of Hearts are included despite injuries. "They'll all be in Dublin and they're looking forward to it as much as I am," McCarthy added.

As Celtic's Lee O'Connor is suspended for the first game, away to Armenia, of a double header for the U21 side, he will train with the seniors next week for the New Zealand match and then rejoin the U21 panel for their second match, at home to Sweden.

Republic of Ireland squad to play New Zealand and Denmark

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Kieran O’Hara (Burton Albion, on loan from Manchester United), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth).

Defenders: Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), Kevin Long (Burnley), John Egan (Sheffield United), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers), Lee O'Connor (Celtic).

Midfielders: Alan Browne (Preston North End), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic, on loan from West Ham United), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Glenn Whelan (Heart of Midlothian), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), James McClean (Stoke City), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers), Robbie Brady (Burnley)

Forwards: Callum Robinson (Sheffield United), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Aaron Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton Town), Scott Hogan (Stoke City, on loan from Aston Villa), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Alan Judge (Ipswich Town)

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