Ireland U19 star gets first senior call-up as Mick McCarthy names squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers
Mick McCarthy has named Ireland U19 midfielder Luca Connell in his squad to take on Denmark and Gibraltar in the Euro 2020 qualifiers next month.
Ireland made a winning start to their campaign in March, claiming 1-0 wins over both Gibraltar and Georgia, but face a tough test away to Denmark on June 7, who have been a thorn in Ireland's side in recent times.
After the trip to Denmark, Ireland host Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium on June 10.
Bolton midfielder Connell has been included in McCarthy's 27-man squad for the two ties. 23 players will travel to Portugal for a training camp ahead of the games, with Richard Keogh, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane and Josh Cullen set to join up with the team in Dublin after the Championship playoff final.
"Luca deserves this opportunity," McCarthy said.
"With midfielders Conor Hourihane, Glenn Whelan and Josh Cullen all on play-off duty with their clubs in the coming weeks, this is the perfect chance to get Luca into the squad.
"We will miss the lads in Portugal but we will be tuning into their games.
"I’m sure there will be divided loyalties when Glenn and Conor take on Richard but Josh might get a clean run at the support of the squad when Charlton play Sunderland.
"The benefit for us is that the four lads will be firing on all cylinders when they join up with the rest of the group in Dublin at the end of the month."
Republic of Ireland Squad
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), John Egan (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City)
Midfielders: Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic*), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth)
Forwards: David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa), Callum Robinson (Preston North End)