Mick McCarthy made ten changes to the starting eleven for this evening’s friendly international against Bulgaria in the Aviva Stadium.
He had already confirmed that Conor Hourihane would start at left back, a position that will require a new face when we visit Georgia next month as regular occupant Enda Stevens is suspended for that match.
The remaining ten places were filled by the back-up players with the captain’s armband going to Sheffield United centre back John Egan.
There were debut starts for goalkeeper Mark Travers and midfielder Josh Cullen whose neat and tidy play earned him the ‘man of the match’ accolade. There were also first caps for another goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara who replaced Travers on 75 minutes, midfielder Jack Byrne and striker James Collins who scored the third goal.
Ireland opened the scoring on 56 minutes with Alan Browne having an easy tap in following a goalkeeping fumble. The visitors equalised from the penalty spot some 10 minutes later following poor defensive play by Cyrus Christie but Ireland responded with a thumping Kevin Long header following an excellent Jack Byrne corner and Byrne was also the initial creator in the build-up to the third goal converted by Collins following an exquisite cross from Stevens.
A not too frantic exercise with just Cullen, Curtis, Egan and Collins making any significant impact.
Team: M Travers; C Christie, K Long, J Egan(C), C Hourihane; C O’Dowda, A Brown, A Judge, J Cullen, R Curtis; S Hogan
J Byrne for Judge 59′
J Collins for Hogan 59′
J McClean for Hourihane 68′
K O’Hara for Travers 75′
E Stevens for O’Dowda 75′
J Hendrick for Curtis 83′
Goalkeepers: Kieran O’Hara(Burton Albion), Darren Randolph(Middlesbrough), Mark Travers(AFC Bournemouth)
Defenders: Cyrus Christie(Fulham), Seamus Coleman(Everton), Shane Duffy(Brighton & Hove Albion), John Egan(Sheffield United), Richard Keogh(Derby County), Kevin Long(Burnley), Enda Stevens(Sheffield United)
Midfielders: Alan Browne(Preston North End), Jack Byrne(Shamrock Rovers), Josh Cullen(Charlton Athletic), Ronan Curtis(Portsmouth), Jeff Hendrick(Burnley), Conor Hourihane(Aston Villa), Alan Judge(Ipswich Town), James McClean(Stoke City), Callum O’Dowda(Bristol City), Glenn Whelan(Heart of Midlothian)
Forwards: James Collins(Luton Town), Scott Hogan(Stoke City)