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Republic boss McCarthy not naive enough to underestimate Gibraltar

Republic boss McCarthy not naive enough to underestimate Gibraltar
© Reuters
Ireland open their campaign with a double-header against Gibraltar and Georgia.

Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has vowed to field his strongest possible team against Euro 2020 qualifying opponents Gibraltar as he prepares to launch his second tenure as manager.

Speaking as he whittled down a provisional squad of 38 to the final 23 for the trip to the Victoria Stadium on March 23, three days before Georgia head for Dublin's Aviva Stadium, McCarthy insisted he would take no risks against the Group D minnows.

He told a press conference: "Am I as green as I am cabbage-looking? We want to beat Gibraltar as that's our first game. I don't want any backlash from that.

"We'll go there with the strongest team I have and try win that game."

Everton midfielder James McCarthy is among those missing out as he strives for match fitness following a leg fracture which has prevented him making a senior appearance for his club since January last year.

Sunderland's Aiden McGeady has also missed the cut despite catching the new manager's eye with a series of good performances in the Black Cats' Sky Bet League One promotion drive, while Cyrus Christie, Kevin Long, Stephen Ward, David Meyler, Scott Hogan and Aiden O'Brien, all regular squad members under Martin O'Neill, do not make it.

Preston midfielder Alan Browne and Portsmouth striker Ronan Curtis were included, but have had to withdraw, with Browne suffering an ankle injury during his club's 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory at Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening, and Curtis having severed part of a finger after catching it in a door, and McCarthy will name their replacements in due course.

Ciaran Clark, Callum Robinson, Jonathan Walters and Michael Obafemi had already been ruled out by injury.

Squad: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Richard Keogh (Derby), John Egan (Sheffield United), Shane Duffy (Brighton), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Alan Judge (Ipswich), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston), Harry Arter (Cardiff), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke), Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton).

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