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14th Mar 2024

Two new players included as John O’Shea names Ireland squad

Simon Kelly

Ireland squad

Belgium and Switzerland await for Ireland’s home matches in March.

John O’Shea has named his first Ireland squad as interim manager, ahead of the two friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium in March.

The squad includes a return for Seamus Coleman, Robbie Brady, Michael Obafemi, and Calum O’Dowda, as well as first call ups for exciting prospects Jake O’Brien and Finn Azaz.

Sammy Szmodics, top scorer in the Championship this season, is back in the squad after rejecting the Hungarian squad, much to the annoyance of manager Marco Rossi.

The English-born midfielder also qualifies for Hungary via his grandfather, but this week, Rossi publicly bashed Szmodics by saying “We don’t need such a person, even if he is a technically good player.”

The 28-year-old has scored a whopping 21 goals for Blackburn Rovers this season, making him a significant goal threat for Ireland in the upcoming friendlies, particularly good news considering Brighton forward Evan Ferguson’s recent lack of form in front of goal.

The full Ireland squad can be seen below:

Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Nathan Collins (Brentford), Andrew Omobamidele (Nottingham Forest), Dara O’Shea (Burnley), Liam Scales (Celtic), Jake O’Brien (Lyon), Robbie Brady (Preston North End), Festy Ebosele (Udinese).
Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Burnley), Jason Knight (Bristol City), Will Smallbone (Southampton). Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), Callum O’Dowda (Cardiff City), Mark Sykes (Bristol City), Finn Azaz (Middlesbrough), Mikey Johnston (West Bromwich Albion).
Forwards: Evan Ferguson (Brighton and Hove Albion), Adam Idah (Celtic), Michael Obafemi (Millwall, on loan from Burnley), Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn Rovers), Chiedozie Ogbene (Luton Town), Troy Parrott (Excelsior, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur).

Two new players included as John O’Shea names Ireland squad

Lyon’s Jake O’Brien has also received a well-deserved call-up to the squad, after impressing in the back line this season for the French side.

Ireland play Belgium on Saturday, March 23 and Switzerland on Tuesday, March 26.

O’Shea will take charge for the upcoming friendlies, with the FAI assuring fans that a permanent head coach will be announced in April.