It’s been quite the extraordinary week. With the news of new President-elect of the United States, the loss of the beloved Leonard Cohen, as well as the historic UFC event taking place in New York this weekend dominating the sports headlines, it’s easy to forget that the Boys In Green face Austria is a huge World Cup qualifying match tomorrow.
What should never be forgotten is the inclusion of Dundalk’s Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan. The duo have impressed Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane – and rightly so. Dundalk have been performing fearlessly both domestically and, impressively, on the European stage.
Defender John O’Shea and midfielder James McClean had been doubts for the tie in Vienna because of hamstring and back injuries respectively, however both were able to depart with the squad this morning. Only one player, Leeds midfielder Eunan O’Kane, has been forced to return to his club with a groin injury.
Something that bothered me last week was the reports Eamon Dunphy gave that Ireland, if we play well, can earn a point at the Ernst Happel Stadion tomorrow. Content with a draw, it’s a wonder why Dunphy never went into football management. It reminds me of the time former Ireland goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly said that “two points out of six” wouldn’t be too bad for two similar qualifying games for Euro 2012. He was relieved of those duties in 2013.
A point would be the bare minimum we should leave Vienna with. Also despite our lack of attacking available tomorrow, and Austria’s world-class players like, most notably, David Alaba, the boys in green have absolutely nothing to fear. Determination and heart has always been Ireland’s strong point. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.
The squad is:
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Colin Doyle (Bradford City)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby County), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Paul McShane (Reading), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Andy Boyle (Dundalk)
Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Preston North End), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), David Meyler (Hull City), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen), Daryl Horgan (Dundalk)
Forwards: Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town)
Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)