Dubliner Adam Rooney has high hopes for Dons
In-form Aberdeen forward Rooney is waiting for call-up to follow SPL goals
IN-FORM Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney is still hoping that his superb form in front of goal for SPL title challengers Aberdeen could lead to an international call-up.
The Dublin-born striker has scored 20 times in 30 appearances in all competitions for the Dons this season and his manager, Derek McInnes, said he intended to contact Martin O'Neill to make a case for inclusion in the Republic's senior squad.
Rooney, 26, has worn the green shirt at underage international level, winning nine U21 caps between 2007 and 2010. Many of his team-mates from those days have progressed to the senior international stage, such as Darron Gibson, Stephen Quinn, Richard Keogh, Anthony Stokes, Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady, but a further international call-up has eluded Rooney - so far.
"It would obviously be great to be involved with the national team but it's more important to perform for my club first," says Rooney, whose goals have helped Aberdeen make a challenge for honours this season, the Dons currently just three points behind SPL league leaders Celtic.
"I need to do as well as I can. As an attacker it's all about scoring goals or if I'm wide it's about setting them up. If it gets me recognised at international level that is a nice bonus.
"But it depends on what the manager thinks. Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane have come in and they will have their own ideas on players and it's up to them.
"I just have to keep our focus is on doing well here and if anything comes on the back of me doing well here then that's great," added Rooney.
Successive Ireland managers have stayed away from the SPL in terms of selecting players, apart from Celtic men such as Aiden McGeady, Darren O'Dea, Colin Healy, Liam Miller and, more recently, Anthony Stokes. Only a handful of players from outside Parkhead have been capped by Ireland in the modern era (Motherwell's Darren Randolph, Hibs duo Nick Colgan and Liam Miller).
Last season Rooney's Aberdeen team-mate Willo Flood was linked with an Ireland call-up but Flood remains uncapped at senior level.
Meanwhile, the FAI have missed out on a possible new recruit as Bolton defender Niall Maher is ineligible for the Republic, it has emerged. The left back, on loan to Blackpool from Bolton made his debut in senior football last week in Blackpool's heavy defeat to Watford, but it's now been confirmed that Maher, 19 does not qualify as his Irish connection is too distant.
But Martin O'Neill is keeping an eye on U21 cap Charles Dunne, who is back in the side at Blackpool.