The Irish FA are saying thank you to the 210 Northern Ireland fans who refused to boycott Tuesday night’s 5-0 hammering against the Republic of Ireland by handing them free tickets for tomorrow night’s final Carling Nations Cup game against Wales.
Nigel Worthington’s plans for the game in Dublin, however, have been thrown into chaos.
After the embarrassment of the heavy defeat to Giovanni Trapattoni’s team, Worthington yesterday lost two more experienced players from his squad.
Steven Davis and Sammy Clingan, who both started in midfield against the Republic, picked up injuries in the game and will miss the meeting with the Welsh.
And their withdrawals have left Worthington with just three players in his squad whose tally of caps are in double figures.
Oldham Athletic teenager Carl Winchester is now in line to make his debut in midfield.
Many Northern Ireland fans refused to attend the Republic game after the IFA dictated that tickets would be available only to those who travelled on official coaches, which is why only a couple of hundred were there rather than a few thousand.
“One of the fans who attended the game against the Republic made the suggestion of free tickets for the Wales game and we’ve agreed to that,” said IFA marketing director Geoff Wilson.
“It’s our way of giving something back to the fans.”