Category: Archive

Mick loses 7 players to injury

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Both Irish teams have been decimated by injury ahead of today’s international soccer friendlies in Helsinki and Belfast.

Seven members of Mick McCarthy’s original 25-man Ireland squad announced earlier to face Finland were forced to pull out on Monday with a myriad of complaints, leaving the coach mulling a recall of 1994 World Cup star Phil Babb.

Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy, meanwhile, has lost six players from his 20-man contingent selected to tackle Cyprus at Windsor Park, after the first full week of league action in England.

Ruled out for the Republic are defenders Stephen Carr (hamstring), Steve Finnan (ankle), Richard Dunne (back), and Andy O’Brien (shin splints); midfielder Steven Reid (ankle), and strikers Richard Sadlier (hip) and Clinton Morrison (groin).

“I thought that there might be a few withdrawals, but certainly not as many as have now happened,” McCarthy said. “I am particularly concerned about Reid and Sadlier as they have long-term injuries and could miss our opening European Championship qualifying tie against Russia on Sept. 7.”

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

The Helsinki match is a warmup for the Euro ’04 qualifier with the Russians in Moscow.

With the loss of so many defenders from his squad, McCarthy was planning a callup for Babb, a former international who has returned to the English Premiership with Sunderland after two years in Portugal.

Babb, a central defender, was last capped for the Republic in their 2-1 victory over South Africa in the U.S. Cup at Giants Stadium in New York two years ago. He has been in international limbo since being arrested with Mark Kennedy in Dublin before the start of the World Cup 2002 qualifiers.

Missing Finn

Barring Chelsea striker Mik’l Forssell, Finland will be at full strength against the Irish.

Forssel has been nursing a knee injury since the end of last season, but coach Antti Muurinen has at his disposal the Liverpool duo of skipper Sami Hyypia and forward Jari Litmanen.

Other notables in the 19-man squad include British-based goalies Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton Wanderers), Antti Niemi (Hearts), and Peter Enckelman (Aston Villa); Panathinaikos winger Joonas Kolkka and forward Jonatan Johansson (Charlton Athletic).

Finland, who missed the World Cup finals, will be Ireland’s first opponents since the Republic’s 3-2 penalty loss to Spain in the second round of Japan/Korea ’02 last June. The Finns are also preparing for their qualifier against Wales in Helsinki on the same day.

Northern woes

In Northern Ireland, McIlroy’s losses against Cyprus include midfielders Steve Lomas and Philip Mulryne, forwards Stuart Elliott and Paul McVeigh, and defender Gerry Taggart.

In addition, McIlroy has bowed to a request from Manchester United to leave out goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who has been performing heroics for Alex Ferguson’s men in the absence of the injured Fabien Barthez.

To plug the gaps, the coach has summoned midfielders Grant McCann of West Ham and Luton Town’s Stephen Robinson, along with Sunderland goalkeeper Michael Ingham.

Northern Ireland are also prepping for the start of their Euro ’04 qualifying schedule in October. They are drawn in a tough Group 6 along with Spain, Ukraine, Greece and Armenia.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese