Ireland may be short on attacking options, but Martin O’Neill probably wasn’t expecting Paul McShane to be the man to put up his hand for a forward role, writes Stephen Barry.
With injuries to Jon Walters and Sean Maguire limiting Ireland’s options, the manager would’ve been hoping to see fireworks from Shane Long, without a goal since February 2017, or Daryl Murphy, who is returning from a heel injury.
Instead it was Reading captain who lit up social media with a left-footed thunderbolt.
McShane hasn’t played a competitive minute for Ireland since Thierry Henry’s ‘Hand of Gaul’ handball incident against France in the 2009 World Cup play-offs, where McShane took some flak for being the nearest player to Henry.
However, he could provide back-up for an Irish back-four which all are carrying the possibility of suspension should they pick-up a yellow card in the play-off first leg against Denmark.
John O’Shea and Paul McShane. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Ireland are also without the injured Seamus Coleman and Richard Keogh in defence.