REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
An experimental Republic of Ireland are expected to take to the field of play in Thursday’s international friendly at home to New Zealand (kick-off is at 7.45pm).
The Boys in Green were victorious in their previous friendly encounter at home to Bulgaria, with a comfortable 3-1 win.
On a low-key night of action, Ireland easily dispatched of the Bulgarians in the closing stages of the game, with the introduction of Jack Byrne proving to be pivotal.
However, the visit of the All Whites to Dublin 4 on Thursday evening provides Ireland with a distraction of sorts ahead of Monday’s do-or-die qualifier at home to Denmark.
“I don’t make anything of them (New Zealand) and I haven’t (scouted them),” Mick McCarthy said during a press conference.
“I can’t see them. Whatever stuff our analyst has got, we are going to look at it and see how they have played in the past and how we think they will play now, what players are in the squad.
“We’ll try to get some handle on how we think they are going to play.
“It’s been pretty difficult, there’s not much out there for us.”
And with question marks being raised over the fitness of goalkeeper Darren Randolph, McCarthy added that he is unlikely to risk any players on Thursday evening.
“Anybody who has been injured, we discuss it with their medical team as well along with ours, and it's no difference with Robbie and the management team as well.
“We'll be making sure we look after him. I'm not bothered if he's training, we just want him playing on Monday.”
McCarthy has also confirmed that Lee O’Connor, Jack Byrne and Troy Parrott will all start tomorrow evening.
Going over 500 days without a competitive game, New Zealand are the visitors to Lansdowne Road on Thursday evening as they face a distracted Ireland.
Irish eyes are certainly fixated on Monday’s huge showdown at home to Denmark, and the All Whites have a new boss at the helm in Danny Hay.
Hay, once of Leeds United for a stint between 1999-2002 has been appointed as boss to help secure their place at the 2022 World Cup.
However, while qualification is the priority, Hay admits he will be placing an emphasis on youth ahead of their qualification campaign.
“The thing about professional footballers and how they operate is they'll be able to sniff straight away whether these are serious young players and they'll be able to sniff straight away the quality, and I think a few of the senior players have already seen some of the quality, even just in the very brief session we had today,” Hay told New Zealand website stuff.co.nz.
“Ultimately, it's about the younger players, when they get the opportunity, showing what they're capable of.
“I've been quite vocal about how I want to have a style of play that suits the type of player we're developing now, but it's certainly not a case of out with the old, in with the new – I think we've got a really good balance.”
The Republic of Ireland have never faced New Zealand before, but the All Whites have played First Division Cabinteely previously.
The All Whites saw off the Green and White’s by a score-line of 5-2, with both Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters and Cory Galvin scoring for Cabo.
In terms of the FIFA World Rankings, New Zealand occupy 121st position in the world, with Mick McCarthy’s Ireland in 36th spot.
Republic of Ireland 1/4; Draw 4/1; New Zealand 9/1.
Republic of Ireland 3 - 0 New Zealand
Republic of Ireland