Sunday 26 January 2020

Darren lift but Aaron a worry

Darren Randolph of Republic of Ireland saves a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile
Darren Randolph of Republic of Ireland saves a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile

Mick McCarthy says he has no worries over the fitness of first-choice goalkeeper Darren Randolph (above).

The Irish squad assembled in Dublin ahead of their first training session today, though there was a concern as Aaron Connolly appeared to pick up a groin injury during Brighton's Premier League loss to Manchester United.

But McCarthy got a much-needed boost 24 hours earlier as Randolph was back in the Middlesbrough side, having missed three games, and the Irish boss expects him to be fit for Monday's key clash with Denmark as well as Thursday's friendly with New Zealand.

"I had been speaking to Darren by text, he expected to be available for the two games here and it's great to see him back," says McCarthy, who promised to give game time to Lee O'Connor in Thursday's friendly.

Praise for Hayes

Neil Lennon heaped praise on 'Jonny Hayes (below) after his man of the match performance in Celtic's 2-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead yesterday.

Hayes signed on a free transfer from Aberdeen in 2017 but has started the last two matches in place of injured left-back Boli Bolingoli, including Thursday's 2-1 win over Lazio which saw the Hoops qualify for the last-32 of the Europa League.

The 32-year-old Irishman's deal is up next summer and Lennon admitted his performances will make it difficult for him not to be offered a new deal.

"I am delighted with him," said the Parkhead boss, who saw goal s from striker Odsonne Edouard and an own goal by Well defender Richard Tait keep his side ahead of Rangers at the top of the Premiership by one goal scored.

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