Kelleher set to make first ROI start vs Qatar

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher will make his first senior start for the Republic of Ireland in Tuesday night’s friendly against Qatar.

The 22-year-old made his debut as a substitute against Hungary in June, but is in the starting line-up for the clash with the World Cup hosts at the Aviva Stadium.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, manager Stephen Kenny said: “Caoimhin is a really natural goalkeeper. He’s such a terrific talent. He played 10 times for me as U21s manager, so I’m well aware of his qualities and he’s done terrifically.

“He was just unfortunate last season when he was injured and that opened the door in March for Gavin Bazunu, who’s been terrific.

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    “Caoimhin made his debut at half-time in the game against Hungary, but this is his first start tomorrow and in front of a home crowd, and he deserves it.”

    Kelleher has established himself as second choice ‘keeper behind Alisson in recent seasons at Liverpool and he will be aiming to push Gavin Bazunu and Darren Randolph for a regular place in Kenny’s starting XI.

    Kelleher has played 10 times for Liverpool since making his debut 2019

    Kelleher has played 10 times for Liverpool since making his debut in 2019

    The 22-year-old, who signed a new long-term contract at Anfield in the summer, has played 90 minutes for Jurgen Klopp’s team so far this season, keeping a clean sheet in the 3-0 Carabao Cup third-round win over Norwich last month.

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    Highlights of the European World Cup Qualifier between Azerbaijan and Ireland.

    ROI boss Kenny has revealed he will make some, but not wholesale, changes after Saturday night’s 3-0 World Cup qualifier victory in Azerbaijan, although while midfielder Jason Knight will return to the squad after illness, he has some doubts.

    Kenny said: “There is just a doubt about Josh Cullen, who just jarred his knee in the game the other night, and we’ll see how he is. Daryl Horgan just has some discomfort in his ankle, so we’ll see how he is also.

    “On the plus side, Jason Knight will come into the squad.”