Ireland defender Shane Duffy is back in the starting XI.
The Boys in Green take on Qatar tonight, and RTÉ have confirmed that the Celtic loanee is back in contention for the national team. According to Ireland’s national broadcaster:
“Seamus Coleman will possibly partner Shane Duffy at centre-back with Cyrus Christie coming in on the right side of the four. Dara O’Shea looks set to start at left back. Otherwise, it will be O’Shea and Duffy in the middle with Coleman and Christie playing on either side.”
Normally, a friendly with lowly-ranked Qatar would be small-fry. However, the stakes are higher due to the catastrophic loss against Luxembourg at the weekend. Duffy watched on in horror as FIFA’s 98th-ranked side bested Ireland 1-0.
It’s put enormous pressure on Kenny, without a win in 10 as Republic of Ireland manager. Ex-Celtic boss Neil Lennon has been tipped by Paul McGrath to take over Kenny’s job. That being the case, it’d be an interesting reunion for Duffy and Lennon, who enjoy a good relationship [Sun].
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Any kind of positive result will do for Shane Duffy and Ireland
Losing to Luxembourg was unthinkable, but a loss against Qatar? Fine, they’re better than they used to be [FIFA], but the controversial 2022 World Cup hosts are a team Ireland should beat. Yes, there are problems with the Republic’s squad. For sure, it doesn’t touch the levels of Mick McCarthy’s 2002 side.
Even in comparison to 2016 [FAI], the current Ireland crop lacks quality. The result at the weekend put that in plain sight, and Kenny desperately needs to turn things around.
Duffy could use a boost too, for obvious reasons. As the curtains begin to draw on a dismal 20-21 for Celtic, Duffy’s boyhood dream has become an increasingly profound nightmare. A clean sheet tonight would do Duffy – and Ireland – a world of good.