European Championship 2020 Qualifiers, Group D.
Aviva Stadium, Dublin Tuesday March 26th K.O. 7:45pm
Mick McCarthy’s second stint in charge of the Irish national side has got off to a stormy start. After scraping past minnows Gibraltar last time out, in a game play on a plastic pitch in a howling gale, followed by an even bigger storm that has been brewing around the FAI headquarters in Abbotstown over the last few days, McCarthy will be delighted to return to the home comforts of Landsdowne road on what is a mild spring evening in the capital.
The experiment of playing Matt Doherty on the right wing ahead of captain Seamus Coleman has been ditched after the attempt to shoehorn two right backs into the side lasted all of 56 minutes on Saturday. McCarthy has decided to go with a more conservative five man midfield as he has decided to play Glenn Whelan in the holding role and give licence to Conor Hourihane and Jeff Hendrick to push forward. Robbie Brady has come in from the start after appearing off the bench in Gibraltar, as he looks to regain full fitness, in all probability he won’t last the 90.
Our opponents Georgia went down to Switzerland by two goals at home in the Boris Paichadze stadium in Tbilisi on Saturday. The Georgians have become familiar opponents to us over the last decade, having faced them nine times in that period. The Irish record stands at eight win and a draw. However the margin of victory has always been tight. I’m sure McCarty would gladly settle for another 1-0 win tonight.