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Football: Mick's Men Play North For Omagh.

A DATE has finally been set for the Republic of Ireland to play Northern Ireland in aid of the Omagh benefit fund.

Lansdowne Road will host the fixture on May 29, it was announced yesterday, as the FAI revealed a series of friendlies for Mick McCarthy's side to compliment their European championships qualifying campaign.

Paraguay and Sweden will also be visitors to Lansdowne Road, while provisional matches have been arranged away to Poland and Denmark.

Paraguay come to Dublin on February 10, followed by Sweden on April 28.

McCarthy feels that the opening friendly of the year, against Paraguay, will be a valuable game. It takes place seven weeks before Ireland's vital clash with Macedonia in the European Championship qualifiers.

"The home game against Paraguay is a great game for us - I can't say I know much about them off the top of my head, I'll have to watch the videos, but it's a good game to have before we play Macedonia," he says.

That match against Northern Ireland will benefit the Omagh Bomb Disaster Fund, and McCarthy is delighted that a date has been found for the fixture.

"It's something we've been trying to organise for some time, it's not quite as easy as people think to organise these games as we all have fixtures to fulfill," he says.

"Actually it's been Bernard O'Byrne and the FAI who have been working to get arrange the games. We are looking forward to the games - the more the merrier, as far as we're concerned."

The Republic will play in Poland on August 18 and then travel to Copenhagen for a game with 1992 European Champions Denmark on October 9.

However, both matches may depend on how teams are progressing in their European Championship qualifiers.

IRELAND'S 1999 FIXTURES

Wednesday, February 10, Friendly: Republic of Ireland v Paraguay

Saturday, March 27, Euro Championship qualifier: Macedonia v Republic of Ireland

Wednesday, April 28, Friendly: Republic of Ireland v Sweden

Saturday, May 29, Friendly: Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland

Saturday, June 5, Euro Championship qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Yugoslavia

Wednesday, June 9, Euro Championship qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Macedonia

Wednesday, August 18, Friendly: Poland v Republic of Ireland

Saturday, September 4, Euro Championship qualifier: Croatia v Republic of Ireland

Tuesday, September 8, Euro Championship qualifier: Malta v Republic of Ireland

Saturday, October 9, Friendly: Denmark v Republic of Ireland
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Scully, Michael
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 8, 1998
Words:397
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