Saturday 24 February 2018

Ireland set for friendly date with Italians

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

Garry Doyle

Ireland look set to play Italy in a friendly on May 21 – although a venue has yet to be decided.

What's certain is that the match will not take place in Ireland, with Belgium or Switzerland the likeliest hosts, Liege being the venue for a previous friendly international between the sides in 2011, a game Ireland won 2-0.

The match is part of a four-game end-of-season schedule the FAI are putting together – with a match also pencilled in for May 25 at the Aviva Stadium, possibly against Denmark.

Talks are also ongoing for a US tour – where Ireland would play two further friendlies, probably in New York and Boston.

Meanwhile, after waiting 15 years to make his Premier League debut, Dubliner Paddy McCarthy insisted yesterday he has no intention of walking away from either Crystal Palace or the fulfillment of his dream. Despite being strongly linked with a move to Bolton, McCarthy's preference is to stay at the club he helped win promotion with last year.

Having invested five-and-a-half years with the club, McCarthy considered himself jinxed when a recurring calf injury kept him on the treatment table from August to December. And then on Tuesday, 15 years on from when he first left home to sign with Manchester City, he achieved one of the goals he set out for himself. Game number 282 of his professional career was also his first in England's highest league.

Meanwhile, Wolves yesterday rejected an approach from Ipswich for Kevin Doyle. Middlesbrough, Reading and Leeds have also been linked with a move for Doyle.

In the League of Ireland, Shamrock Rovers have moved closer to a deal with former Irish international Stephen McPhail by beginning talks with the Sheffield Wednesday midfielder yesterday.

Irish Independent

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