Antalya Stadium in Turkey will host the international. With a 32,000 capacity, the stadium has only been open three years. 


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Temperatures will be about 19C at kick-off and little chance of rain. 



The heartbreak at the Aviva Stadium seems a long time away, but it still hurts, and games are the best medicine. New faces, in a new environment, and a youthful squad has brought a fresh look to camp this week. 

It'll be important for Martin O'Neill to search for every positive going. Captain Seamus Coleman returns, Jon Walters has indicated his willingness to return to the fold and others are still making their minds up. 

In the meantime, the likes of Derrick Williams, Aaron McCarey, Darragh Lenihan, Kieran O'Hara, Matt Doherty and Enda Stevens will see it as a big opportunity. 

There is also a bigger chance for Scott Hogan and Sean Maguire and the most important of all is Declan Rice, who could be a desperately needed bit of quality in a team that looks short in that department.

It is sobering to see League 1 players and players previously passed over to form the beginning of a qualifying journey, but it is the reality for O'Neill. 

Stevens has continually improved and deserves his chance. O'Hara desperately needs first-team football after failing to establish in five spells that have yielded a handful of games and just five at league level. 


With 25 players in the squad, it's going to be all-change at some point in the game and the starters will give a good indication of who is at the front of O'Neill's mind. 

The troublesome left-back position will be an important call between Stevens and Williams, and indeed both may play 45 minutes. But with just three strikers, it's a big call for O'Neill on who is the number 9.

Sean Maguire is the most logicial call it seems but Scott Hogan could easily claim it, and Shane Long will be champing at the bit to find a goal. 

Conor Hourihane is crying out for 90 minutes in a green shirt.

Ed Leahy's Republic of Ireland (possible XI): Colin Doyle; Seamus Coleman, Declan Rice, Shane Duffy, Enda Stevens; Conor Hourihane, David Meyler, Jeff Hendrick; Matt Doherty, James McClean, Sean Maguire.


Turkey have also named a lot of new players, including two uncapped goalkeepers. Cenk Tosun will be a name familiar to Premier League fans having recently joined Everton. 

Coleman said of his team-mate: "He's been very good in the last couple of weeks. His first couple of training sessions, you could see he was a good player who needed match fitness and training fitness.

"He's finding the back of the net for us, which is important because he was going through a difficult spell. He's a very good player and a very good friend of mine as well." 

It's a 26-man group for Turkey, who will play two friendlies, so perhaps will not be as keen to use the bench as much during the game. 

Hakan Çalhanoğlu is a another dangerman with eight goals in 31 appearances. He, along with Tosun and Selçuk İnan of Galatasary are all tied on eight goals, so similarly they are look for a new threat to emerge. 


O'Neill has two options. To slowly wean in his new faces while playing the most experienced XI possible, or to throw them all in at the deep end.

You know the Republic of Ireland boss by now and he will rightfully pick and choose the first-time starters.

The starting XI you see above is not a bad selection, and the result is not of huge importance.

It would be nice to start this new journey on a bright note but a few positive performances would be enough of a lift ahead of the trip to France. 

Prediction: Turkey 2-1 Ireland

Follow Turkey v the Republic of Ireland via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now App, or watch exclusive terrestrial coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 5.00pm with kick-off in Antalya at 5.30pm.