Friday is D-day for Preston North End duo Alan Browne and Sean Maguire as Ireland wait for Euro 2020 play-off draw
Preston pair Alan Browne and Sean Maguire have had to put their hopes of playing at Euro 2020 with the Republic of Ireland on hold until March.
Browne played the whole of the 1-1 draw with Denmark on Monday night, a result which prevented them qualifying automatically for next summer’s tournament.
His North End team-mate Maguire was an 82nd-minute substitute in the clash at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
On the night Browne was one of Ireland’s better performers in a game they had the better of.
The 24-year-old was a surprise starter on the right-hand side of a front three.
He finished the game playing in defence once Shane Duffy was thrown up front to lend his height to the attack.
Maguire came off the bench as the Emerald Isle chased the winning goal needed to send them through automatically.
Browne said: “We were gutted not to win the game, we left everything out on the pitch.
“We played some good football at times and it just wasn’t to be.
“I think we played the better football, had the better chances but we weren’t quite clinical enough in the final third.
“Their goal made us come out and go for it and them going up 1-0 up was too much for us to come back from.”
Denmark took a 73rd-minute lead through former Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite.
Ireland equalised five minutes from time through Matt Doherty.
The play-offs for Euro 2020 take place in the March international break.
To get through, Ireland would have to win a one-legged semi-final and then a final. The draw for the play-offs take place on Friday.
For Browne, the Denmark game was his ninth senior cap, with Maguire winning his eighth cap.
Browne has really started to establish himself in the Irish squad over the last three international breaks.
He had a stop-start time for his country due to injury but has featured in all six games the Republic have played in the 2019/20 season.
Ireland manager Mick McCarthy is clearly a big fan of Browne’s.
Interviewed before the Denmark game, McCarthy said Browne had impressed him in last Thursday’s 3-1 win over New Zealand in a friendly, earning him a starting berth on Monday night.