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Published: 09:40 | 1/9/16

McCarthy out of Serbia tie

James McCarthy has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Serbia.

McCarthy was not involved in Wednesday's 4-0 friendly defeat of Oman due to a niggling groin injury and the Everton midfielder will not travel to Belgrade as he will undergo surgery on the problem.

He is expected to be sidelined for at least a fortnight and Ireland manager Martin O'Neill will be hoping to have him back for the double-header against Georgia and Moldova next month.

Meanwhile, O'Neill is confident Ireland have the firepower to cope with Robbie Keane's retirement from international football.

Keane scored on his last appearance for Ireland with Jon Walters and Robbie Brady also netting at the Aviva Stadium and O'Neill is confident they can adjust to life after their record goalscorer.

"I think Jon can take that up and if I was Shane (Long) I'd be thinking, 'I'd like to be part of that' and, rather than be a scorer of great goals, be a great goalscorer," O'Neill said.

"If he looks it it he will think 'I've still got plenty of time, I'm quick, there are lpt of thinks about my game, I can get into the penalty box' and just do all the thinks he has done for all of his career."

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