Huge boost for the Republic of Ireland as Shane Duffy declares himself fit for pending qualifiers

Shane Duffy will fly to Georgia with the rest of the Republic of Ireland squad tomorrow after being declared fit for Saturday evening’s Euro 2020 qualifier.

The 27-year-old defender was not named in Mick McCarthy’s initial 24-man squad as he attempted to work his way back from a calf injury at his club Brighton, but was due to head for Dublin on Wednesday afternoon after being given the all-clear.

Striker David McGoldrick will miss the trip to Tbilisi as he continues his recovery from a groin problem, but still has a chance of being involved in Tuesday’s Group D clash with Switzerland in Geneva.

Duffy’s fitness represents a significant boost for McCarthy, who has already lost his central defensive partner Richard Keogh to a knee injury and left-back Enda Stevens to suspension for the game at the Boris Paichadze Arena.

McCarthy told FAI TV: “I’ve just had a text from him saying he’s been given the all-clear this morning. He’s trained with the lads, so he must have done some football work, so that’s good news.

“He’s on a flight this afternoon and he’ll be with us to travel to Georgia tomorrow. All along, he’s been pretty confident he’d be okay.

“It wasn’t as bad as they thought so he’s been running all week, and he said he’s trained with the team this morning so if he’s done full training, he’s fine.”

Duffy is likely to line up alongside either John Egan or Kevin Long on Saturday, while James Collins, Scott Hogan, Callum Robinson, Seáni Maguire and uncapped teenager Aaron Connolly will hope for a chance to fill McGoldrick’s boots.

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