Ireland player by player
*Includes Aiden McGeady and Liam Lawrence, one of whom starts
Club: Manchester City Age: 33 Caps: 100
Finally receiving some long-overdue recognition as the Premier League’s number one. Given didn’t enjoy his best performance against Italy last time out but his presence inspires confidence right through the team.
Club: Manchester United Age: 28 Caps: 58. Goals: 1.
Ireland’s Mr Versatile. His ability to play varied position means he has already operated at centre back, full back and in midfield under Trapattoni. Also capable of getting into goalscoring positions.
Club: Aston Villa Age: 30 Caps: 56 Goals: 7
Flourishing in his new environs at Villa Park. With a couple of strikes already for his new club, the powerful centre-half has rediscovered his goalscoring threat from set pieces.
Seán St Ledger
Club: Middlesbrough (on loan from Preston) Age: 24 Caps: 7 Goals: 1
To a certain extent, the jury is still out on St Ledger despite getting on the scoresheet against Italy at Croke Park. When given the opportunity he is full of endeavour but needs greater exposure at this level to be considered a regular.
Club: Hull City Age: 32 Caps: 100 Goals: 7
By no means a natural full back, Kilbane has nevertheless found himself operating on the left side of the defence under successive Irish managers. Like Shay Given, has broken through the 100 caps barrier – such experience could be telling tonight.
Club: Stoke City Age: 27 Caps: 3 Goals: 1
Lawrence grasped his opportunity against Italy with both hands. Set- pieces will be one of Trapattoni’s main tactics and Lawrence, who scored a fine free-kick against South Africa at Thomond Park, definitely provides options.
Club: Celtic Age: 23 Caps: 29 Goals: 0
A bit like Marmite for Irish fans who either love him or hate him. There is little doubt McGeady is one of the most gifted players in a limited squad but rarely have we seen him excel on the international stage.
Club: Stoke City Age: 25 Caps: 15 Goals: 2
Oh, for a carbon copy of the strike he produced against Italy. While Eric Cantona would dismiss him as a water-carrier, the holding midfielder has become an integral cog in Trap’s machine. Disciplined, hard working and ever-so-occasionally spectacular.
Club: Blackburn Rovers Age: 29 Caps: 10 Goals: 1
Having been around the byways and highways of the professional game, Andrews emerged as a regular throughout the qualifying campaign. The Blackburn player possesses a no-nonsense attitude but will need all his composure if hes to take control of midfield.
Club: Fulham Age: 30 Caps: 78 Goals: 7.
Finally seems to be enjoying his football again at Fulham. Unlikely we’ll ever see the player that terrorised full backs across Europe but a genuine threat out wide when the mood takes him.
Club: Wolves Age: 26 Caps: 30 Goals: 7
Wolves’ record signing has the ability to convert from the slimmest of half chances but for all his industry has yet to make a real impact in international football.
Club: Tottenham Hotspur Age: 29 Caps: 94 Goals: 40
Ireland’s leading scorer is rarely found wanting in the green of Ireland, just as well given the side’s over-reliance on his goals.
Compiled by Noel O’Reilly