Belfast Telegraph

Republic dealt major blow as McCarthy loses fitness battle

World Cup qualifiers

By Daniel McDonnell

James McCarthy will miss the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Austria on Saturday after running out of time to prove his fitness.

The Glaswegian is suffering from a hamstring problem and Everton boss Ronald Koeman was furious when he was called into Martin O'Neill's provisional panel due to tensions carrying over from his involvement in last month's double-header.

Former Northern Ireland captain O'Neill had suggested McCarthy was keen to report for duty in order to give himself every chance but Koeman urged the 25-year-old to stay behind as it would come too soon.

The player's name was absent from the FAI's trimmed down list of 28 which was released last night as the group convened in Castleknock.

Stephen Ward, Cyrus Christie and Stephen Quinn are also ruled out through injury while Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane misses out on the final cut, along with young goalkeeping duo Danny Rogers and Ian Lawlor.

Dundalk pair Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle - who have been impressing in the Europa League group stages - will train with the group for the first time this morning after making the cut, while Bradford's Colin Doyle is back in the fold after a long absence. He won his only cap in 2007.

Injury doubt John O'Shea has travelled over from Sunderland with the FAI saying that a number of players will have to be assessed ahead of Thursday's flight to Vienna.

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