Football euro 2000: Quinn's injury sets McCarthy tactical poser

t EURO 2000 PLAY-OFFS Irish manager may be forced to change formation if Sunderland striker fails to overcome neck problem

MICK MCCARTHY'S refusal to believe he is an unlucky manager was tested again last night when Niall Quinn was declared a doubtful starter for today's second leg of the Euro 2000 play-off against Turkey.

The Republic of Ireland are already without Quinn's normal partner, Robbie Keane of Coventry, and ruling out the Sunderland man, who aggravated a neck injury while warming up before the 1-1 draw in Dublin on Saturday, would impair their chances of achieving the victory or high-scoring draw required to reach the finals for only the second time.

It could also force a change of tactics as well as personnel. David Connolly, the little forward banished by the Dutch club Feyenoord to their nursery side Excelsior, has already been told he is Keane's replacement, but McCarthy will be understandably reluctant to give another start to the 37-year-old Tony Cascarino, whose inadequacies were underlined again in the first match.

"We are going to leave it until the morning and see if there is any reaction," McCarthy said. He would be strongly tempted in Quinn's absence to support Connolly with two attacking flank players and bolster the midfield by putting Lee Carsley or Alan McLoughlin alongside Roy Keane and Mark Kinsella, whose return after suspension is one of the more positive aspects of the squad's preparation for Ireland's most significant match since losing a World Cup play-off to Belgium in similar circumstances two years ago. Stephen Carr, Kenny Cunningham and Gary Breen should all be fit.

The competition has proved to be a long and tortuous road for the Irish. As they enter the final section of this particular stage, McCarthy is inclined to believe that good and bad fortune probably levels itself out even though they were so close to qualifying before late goals denied them in Croatia and Macedonia.

"We've had a bit of luck as well" McCarthy said. "What if Croatia had scored in the last minute against Yugoslavia, or if Alan Kelly hadn't made that save in Malta? We'd have been out. I don't believe I'm unlucky. In my life and my career I've been very fortunate. But if there's any going, I'd like to take a piece."

Attempting to make some luck by going at the Turks would be an interesting approach, partly because the hosts will hardly expect it and partly because an Irish goal could expose one of the Turkish nation's perceived weaknesses, shown in Galatasaray's collapse against Chelsea recently once things began to go against them. There would, of course, be a risk of conceding on the break, but whether level at 1-1 on aggregate or 2-1 down, Ireland would still need to score.

A key figure could be Kevin Kilbane, West Bromwich Albion's former Preston winger, whose Lancastrian accent betrays his birthplace but obscures his family's Irish history. So devoted does he feel to the green cause that as a teenager he refused to attend an England youth squad get-together, reluctantly travelling later although "my heart wasn't in it".

Like most of the younger Ireland players, he grew up watching Jack Charlton's teams reach the 1988 European Championship finals - where they famously defeated England - and then in the World Cups of 1990 and 1994.

A frustrated substitute for the defeat in Belgium, he performed well when given a chance on Saturday by Mark Kennedy's injury. He might have scored twice and the performance has further boosted his levels of confidence that have slowly improved since a disappointing international debut in Iceland two years ago. Now he should not be deterred by the prospect of a crowd whose hostility is likely to make a West Bromwich against Wolves fixture look and sound like a stroll in the park.

Turkey's record of having beaten Ireland only once in ten attempts is now something of an irrelevance given their startling strides up the Fifa rankings of late.

The Fenerbahce midfielders, Sergen Yalcin and Abdullah Ercan, and the Galatasaray strikers, Hakan Sukur and Arif Erdem, illustrated in Dublin what good players they are and Ireland will need Kinsella and Roy Keane to disrupt the flow from the middle and to set up plentiful supply of their own if the luck of McCarthy's adopted country is finally to hold good.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (v Turkey, European Championship play-off second leg, Ataturk Stadium, Bursa, 6.0): (from) Kiely (Charlton); Carr (Tottenham), Breen (Coventry), Cunningham (Wimbledon), Irwin (Man Utd); McAteer, Duff, Carsley (all Blackburn), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), Kinsella (Charlton), Roy Keane (Man Utd), Kilbane (West Bromwich Albion); Connolly (Feyenoord), Quinn (Sunderland), Cascarino (Nancy).

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all