Ireland door opens for new faces Rooney and O'Kane
Published 31/08/2015 | 02:30
Bournemouth's Eunan O'Kane and Aberdeen's Adam Rooney will train with the Irish squad for the first time today after making the final cut for this week's double-header with Gibraltar and Georgia.
O'Kane has benefited from the absence of the injured Harry Arter to play his way into Eddie Howe's midfield for the start of his club's Premier League adventure and now has a chance to move up the international pecking order.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney gets the chance to impress after being named in the provisional list for the summer gathering and missing out when Martin O'Neill trimmed his panel.
The unavailability of Ipswich attackers David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy helped his cause this time around.
Brentford's Alan Judge has suffered the same fate as June as he is on a standby list with Anthony Stokes, Rob Elliot and Simon Cox after O'Neill reduced his party from 37 to 28.
Greg Cunningham and Keiren Westwood have been forced out because of fitness issues.
O'Neill's squad will go through their paces at their new base in the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, a departure from the familiar surroundings of Malahide.
McDonnell leaves struggling Drogs
Former Ireland international Mark Kinsella has been appointed caretaker manager of Drogheda after the departure of Johnny McDonnell following Friday's loss to resurgent Limerick.
That result moved the bottom club within four points of Drogheda, who have gone eight league games without a victory.
It prompted talks which led to the departure of McDonnell after just eight months in charge. Pete Mahon, one of his assistants, has also left his post.
But the club have turned to his other assistant, Kinsella, as a short-term solution. He lacks the requisite coaching qualifications to assume the role permanently, and can only stay in charge for 60 days which means he will have to step aside before the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Cork boss John Caulfield has declared tonight's visit of St Patrick's Athletic to Turner's Cross as a "six-pointer" for both clubs.
Cork are eight points off Dundalk after Friday's win over Galway and five clear of the fourth-placed Saints. A top-three finish secures European football.
"We could nearly box off Europe if we got the right result," says Caulfield.