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).

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own