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O´Neill attempts to navigate Ireland injury crisis

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill is coping with an injury crisis as he prepares to lead his side into a World Cup qualifying double-header against Georgia and Moldova.

Daryl Murphy (calf), Aiden McGeady (hamstring), Kevin Doyle (ankle), Stephen Quinn (knee), Keiren Westwood (thigh) and Anthony Pilkington (thigh) are all out, while Marc Wilson was left out of the final squad for the games due to a lack of match fitness.

Premier League duo James McCarthy and Harry Arter (both groin) are also doubtful to face Georgia on Thursday as Ireland look to build on a 2-2 draw in Serbia last month, which opened their Group D campaign.

“We have got a few injuries,” O’Neill said at a media conference. “We’ve got a few problems and it would help to have fit players. It’s not great with the quick turnaround.

“But these things happen. It’s part of the game, you just have to curse your luck and get on with it. 

“McCarthy hasn’t played much but he isn’t feeling too bad. He hasn’t been involved. He’s been recovering from the operation and has done a lot of work.

“He’s pretty optimistic but we’ll see how that goes over the next two days. We don’t have much time between now and Thursday.

“If he gets a couple of training sessions in, that would be beneficial for him and useful for us.”

The raft of withdrawals could see new faces benefit for Ireland, with uncapped Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney drafted into the squad along with Manchester City goalkeeper Ian Lawlor.

O’Neill added: “Kevin Doyle has been injured recently. If Adam Rooney gets a chance it is up to him to go and take it.

“These games are very difficult. Georgia are the main focus right now. We won’t look at the Moldova game until Friday.”

The Ireland boss was also grilled on why there were no players from Dundalk in his squad after their impressive Europa League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

O’Neill said: “I thought their performance against BATE Borisov [in Champions League qualifying] was really immense, but this one topped it.

“Really great effort, they deserved to win the game and they’ve been carrying the flag for some considerable time. It gives the whole league a boost.

“If they’ve got 10 minutes to spare I’d pick the whole lot of them – but they’ve only got 15 games in the next two days!

“There’s one or two who could easily be in our squad but with all games they’ve had, I’d leave it now and see how things develop. A couple of them have been absolutely astonishing.”

Mon 3 Oct, 2016
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