McCarthy took part in Ireland training today to boost his chances of being involved against Wales
McCarthy has not played for his club since March 5 because of a hamstring problem – and the chances of him being fit enough to be named in the starting line-up for the game at the Aviva Stadium remain slim.
However, the fact that he has a chance of being involved will come as a welcome boost to O’Neill, who has already lost Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, Harry Arter, Wes Hoolahan and Daryl Murphy to injury and Robbie Brady to suspension.
Republic striker Jon Walters is also raring to go after recovering from knee surgery in January. “It’s all sorted now,” he said. “It took time coming back to make sure it was completely right. It was a week, 10 days, before the operation, then probably seven weeks after the operation and it feels really good.”
James McClean is back in the camp after being given leave to travel north to pass on his condolences to the family of close friend and Derry City captain Ryan McBride ahead of his funeral today.
Martin O'Neill had been sweating over McCarthy's fitness
Wales midfielder Joe Ledley could miss the game if his wife Ruby goes into labour before the Aviva Stadium clash.
Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey, Ledley’s team-mate at Crystal Palace, said: “The baby is due two or three days after the game, so Joe is hoping he doesn’t get the call until the day after. He’s not been nervous, he’s been really good.
“He’s been keeping his phone on loud when he’s been out on the training field. He’s been calm, it’s their third so he’s used to it now.
“It would be weird if he wasn’t here because I’m with him every day with Palace, but I could have a little break I suppose!”
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Ledley has a reputation for bad timing after scheduling his wedding for the same day as the Euro 2016 final last summer.
That tournament famously saw Coleman’s men reach the last four.
“He doesn’t plan ahead, that’s his problem,” Hennessey joked. “We just hope it all goes well, and the baby is fit and healthy and comes a few days after the game.
“He’s got two girls, so he’d like a boy, but I’m telling him all the time it’s going to be a girl!”