Our senior international manager Stephen Kenny will have been disappointed by the scarcity of senior international Irish players involved in the first round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening last and again in the League this weekend. He must be concerned and will be anxious that most of his likely squad members will see some competitive action in the coming weeks.
With just three weeks to the fixture against Portugal in Faro-Louie on Wednesday the first of September we have already suffered some injury setbacks with Jason Knight, Callum O’Dowda and Enda Stevens all set to be absent. Robbie Brady is still without a club following his exit from Burnley. James McCarthy has joined Glasgow Celtic from Crystal Palace on a four year deal but has had just 15 minutes of competitive action. Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, on loan at Portsmouth, has also been confined to the substitute bench in their opening two fixtures but started last weekend. Aaron Connolly and Jayson Molumby were not in the Brighton & Hove Albion matchday squad for their opening Premier League fixture at Burnley. Shane Long was not in the Southampton squad at Everton while Conor Hourihane was not included in the Aston Villa squad at Watford. James McClean is out of favour at Stoke City and has been made available for transfer.
Stephen Kenny has confirmed the appointment of Stephen Rice as Opposition Analyst and Head Scout to replace the departed Ruadhri Higgins who has taken on the Managerial role at Derry City. The 36 year old Rice had a very successful domestic playing career with Bohemian and Shamrock Rovers while Kenny was in charge of those clubs. Following his progression into the coaching arena he has been working with the underage squads at Crystal Palace.