Hawkeye Sidekick

Republic of Ireland: Now or Never

Decision Monday

And so it comes to this. Republic of Ireland had this group in their own hands entering into last month’s qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland but one point from those games have left Mick McCarthy’s men needed to beat now perennial foe Denmark at the Aviva Stadium on Monday night to secure Euro qualification. Hawkeye Sidekick preview the team selection for the Republic of Ireland.

How is Mick going to play this fixture?

The formation looks pretty clear cut. 4-1-4-1. I would go 5-3-2 but it won’t happen. The lack of creativity from the Republic of Ireland has been much maligned in this campaign but the mantra is clear from McCarthy; keep defensively solid and look to the set piece or delivery from out wide as an attacking outlet.

Expecting this fixture to be very cat and mouse. Denmark and Republic of Ireland fixtures previously have in the most part been cagey affairs early for the exception of their World Cup playoff qualifier in Dublin. Denmark will sit tight and look to hit Ireland on the counter attack with Christian Eriksen a key figure.

For Republic of Ireland, the key is to keep tight and solid in the opening half with a view to committing more players in open play offensively in the last twenty minutes. This game will be more about composure and keeping your nerve than producing an outstanding piece of skill to win the game. The stakes are high.

Who plays for Republic of Ireland?

No significant surprises but would like a couple of fresh faces in the starting lineup.

Goalkeeper:

The goalkeeper position is nailed on. Darren Randolph has the starting jersey and provided that the Middlesbrough keeper is fit to start, there is no argument in this position. Strong overall game.

Defense:

The defensive options looks interesting. You would expect John Egan to partner Shane Duffy. Kevin Long comes into the equation if we go five at the back to allow Enda Stevens and Matt Doherty the license to advance further up the pitch and provide that width and quality out wide. If Ireland management go four at the back, then it is Doherty, Duffy, Egan and Stevens.

Midfield:

The midfield options are intriguing. I would love to see Josh Cullen in the mix here; neat and tidy player who will retain and keep the tempo. However, Glenn Whelan’s experience and Mick McCarthy’s loyalty to the Hearts player means that he will more than likely get the nod. Cullen should be introduced at some point of proceedings to close out the game out.

Conor Hourihane energy and ability to strike the ball from long range comes into the equation as the second central midfielder. His delivery into the box is high and we will need that on Monday.

The third midfield player needs to be combative and really to man mark Christian Eriksen. Ciaran Clark has played defensive midfield in his early career and would be prime candidate to run those instructions. Alan Browne comes into the equation but could be an impact sub.

Attack:

5-3-2 formation for me but it will be one up top for Mick. David McGoldrick will roll up the sleeves and run for the lost causes. His cohesion with Enda Stevens in open play is a plus.

If there is a second attacking option, then you are looking at someone like Callum Robinson who has the pace and ability to play behind the front man. The New Zealand game last night saw glimpses of brilliance from Maguire and Byrne but not enough to get into the starting lineup.

The two up top conundrum may be required at the end if a goal is required; expect Duffy to join the attack with long balls from deep the source of chances created.

Hendrick and McClean lose out in this lineup; impact off the bench as their form this season has been a mixed bag thus far. Energy will be required in the last twenty minutes, leave in reserve and introduce. It won’t happen but worth noting!

Hawkeye Sidekick Team Selection:

Randolph, Doherty, Duffy, Egan, Long, Stevens, Whelan, Clark, Hourihane, Robinson and McGoldrick.