Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Here is the Ireland team to play Slovakia

The Republic of Ireland take on Slovakia in Bratislava on Thursday night in a crucial European Ch...

Here is the Ireland team to pl...

Here is the Ireland team to play Slovakia

The Republic of Ireland take on Slovakia in Bratislava on Thursday night in a crucial European Championship play-off semi-final.

This is Stephen Kenny's third game in charge of the Irish senior team following the Nations League double-header last month against Bulgaria and Finland.

Kenny, who prematurely replaced Mick McCarthy earlier this year, is seeking his first victory as manager with the aforementioned pair of matches finishing in a 1-1 away draw and a 1-0 home defeat respectively.

6 September 2020; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny prior to the UEFA Nations League B match between Republic of Ireland and Finland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The winner on Thursday night will face either Bosnia & Herzegovina or Northern Ireland in a play-off final where the victor will progress to next summer's rescheduled European Championships which was postponed this year due to the global spread of COVID-19.

Should the game finish in a draw this evening it will go to extra-time and then penalties if necessary so, regardless, we will know Ireland's fate by night's end.

Everton skipper Seamus Coleman and Nottingham Forest midfielder Harry Arter had already been ruled out through injury.

Here is the Irish starting XI that Kenny has named.

Both James McClean and Callum Robinson start alongside David McGoldrick in attack.

The big emerging news shortly after the starting XI was released is that both Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah have been removed from the squad as they were identified as close contacts to a backroom member of staff who has tested positive for COVID-19. The member of staff in question is one of two staff who has tested positive.

This is believed to be the reason why McClean is starting ahead of Connolly.

Elsewhere, the remaining selections are what many expected the side to be, with a midfield trio of Jeff Hendrick, James McCarthy and Conor Hourihane protected by a back four of Enda Stevens, John Egan, captain Shane Duffy and Matt Doherty. Darren Randolph, as usual, is between the sticks.

Kick-off in Bratislava is at 7.45pm Irish time and the match is live on Off The Ball across all of our social channels,, the OTB Sports App and on Newstalk radio with live commentary coming from Nathan Murphy and Stuey Byrne.

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Euro 2020 Euro 2020 Play-offs Ireland Vs Slovakia Republic Of Ireland Slovakia Stephen Kenny