Republic of Ireland v Oman: Preview, team news and live score commentary

Updated: September 11, 2012
Robbie Brady

Republic of Ireland v Oman: Preview, team news and live score commentary

CLICK HERE for live score commentary

At this moment in time Oman looks more likely then the Republic of Ireland to be present at the 2014 World Cup. They have come through two phases of qualification, eliminating Saudi Arabia along the way. Jordan, Japan and Australia stand in the way of automatic qualification.

Oman defeated Saudi Arabia to win the 2009 Gulf Cup of Nations on home soil, a tournament that is increasing in stature.

So what’s the point in tomorrow’s match apart from the rotund cheque the promoters are drooly lipped over, it’s the fact that Ireland faces a decent test at Craven Cottage.

Ok so what media outlet doesn’t have a competition for five pairs of tickets to anyone who could be bothered winning them? But after Friday night’s no-show, many of Ireland’s fringe players are getting a chance to walk the international football catwalk; even if it does feel a little like an early winter design showing in Arnotts.

We learned interestingly this weekend that international squads will now be all available as substitutes on match day, a lá the major tournaments themselves. This will surely give greater motivation to fringe players to impress. Now gaining a squad call up for many players will feel more like being one step away from making an appearance then two.

So with that in mind a lot more then the eleven starting tomorrow night will be hoping to catch Giovanni Trapattoni’s imagination.

Trapattoni himself must be hurting after the arduous struggle in Astana. He remains stoic but he’s not immune to the pressure that’s growing. When Tony O’Donoghue gets agitated, as he did in Friday night’s post match interview, you can’t ignore the fact that resistance is building.

Under a hail of accusations from being out of touch, to arrogance, to fractured relationships with players, senior and junior, there is still the feeling that none of these will be what ultimately takes him down; but his blinkered view in his style and system of playing.

It will be interesting if any fluency is injected tomorrow. But even if it is, do we really expect our centre backs and full backs to pass the ball out of defence against Germany at home in October.

David Forde is deserving of the start in goal. The Galway has previously been something of a journeyman, flitting between the Irish, Welsh and English leagues up until his move to Millwall in 2008. His stay there has been his most settled by far and this season should see him pass the two hundred appearance mark.

Stephen Kelly and Paul McShane are struggling to gain first team appearances at club level but will enjoy what will be surely a once off cameo appearance as a centre back partnership. Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson are behind Kelly in the full back pecking order but will get the chance to impress. It will be interesting to see the direction they are given and if they adhere to it.

Andy Keogh played in Trapattoni’s first match in charge against Serbia, a match he scored in on a fairly flat afternoon in Croke Park. Keogh, it is being suggested, is a beneficiary of a tweet that grew its own wings. But Keogh is the type of player that the Italian favours and sees as reliable. But expect McClean to replace him at half time.

Cork man David Meyler will relish the opportunity to join James McCarthy in midfield. Meyler has not had a consistent run of games for Sunderland. A serious cruciate ligament injury in 2010 and a torn medial ligament in 2011 have slowed his development. But he is the type of hard working player favoured by Trapattoni and this is a big opportunity for him.

Robbie Brady has been Irelands top scorer in an ultimately disappointing U21 qualification campaign for Euro 2013. So with nothing to lose against Italy Irelands star man is called to the senior squad. Only to look on as his teammates go to Italy and with nine men defeat Italy 4-2 with a cracking display including a superb long-range effort by Conor Henderson.

But he is Ireland’s most exciting prospect on show tomorrow night and could impress the most. Also hoping to make an impression on Trapattoni, having already impressed the rest of us, is Shane Long. But as long as Robbie Keane continues to play it’s hard to see him being replaced by Trapattoni in the games that matter.

Kevin Doyle will captain Ireland. Doyle lost his form in the second half of the 2011/12-premiership season and didn’t discover it in time for Poland. But his endeavour and drive on Friday night were ultimately what saved the night and possibly somebody their job. It’s not inconceivable that he is pushing Walters back out of the side.

The result tomorrow night shouldn’t be of any real significance. The approach and the performance will. But ultimately only if it’s positive and if it’s carried through to the visit of Germany October 12th.

Prediction: Ireland 1- 0 Oman

Ireland: David Forde, Seamus Coleman, Stephen Kelly, Paul McShane, Marc Wilson, David Meyler, James McCarthy, Robbie Brady, Kevin Doyle (c), Shane Long, Andy Keogh.

On TV: Setanta 19:00 {Kick Off 19:30}

William Hill Sports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>