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Shane Long ruled out with COVI...

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Shane Long ruled out with COVID-19 as McGrath gets first Irish start


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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has handed a first international start to Jamie McGrath for tonight's World Cup qualifier at Portugal.

The St Mirren midfielder has been selected alongside Josh Cullen and Jeff Hendrick in the centre of the park.

Gavin Bazunu has been given the nod to start in goal with Shane Duffy's good start to the season rewarded with a place in the centre of defence.

Duffy is paired alongside Dara O'Shea and John Egan with captain Seamus Coleman at right-wing-back and Matt Doherty at left-wing-back.

Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah are up front while Shane Long has been ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19.

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the Portuguese attack and will be seeking a record-breaking 110th international goal.

Portugal have an impressive home record in World Cup qualifying in recent times and are unbeaten since 2008. In the 15 games played since, they've registered 13 victories.

Stuey Byrne joins Nathan Murphy for live commentary on Off The Ball, with kick-off in Faro at 7.45pm.


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