Sport Soccer

Sunday 8 December 2019

O'Brien misses Irish friendlies to concentrate on fitness

Everton's South African midfielder Steven Pienaar (R) tackles West Ham United's Irish defender Joey O'Brien during the English Premier League football match between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY
Everton's South African midfielder Steven Pienaar (R) tackles West Ham United's Irish defender Joey O'Brien during the English Premier League football match between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north-west England. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY

West Ham defender Joey O'Brien has been released from the Republic of Ireland squad for their end-of-season friendlies.

O'Brien was included in the provisional 32-man party for the games against Turkey, Italy, Costa Rica and Portugal when Ireland manager Martin O'Neill named it last week.

However, he will now not join up with the Irish squad and concentrate instead on his own fitness programme. He will not be replaced in the party.

Meanwhile, the hero of last year's FAI Cup final, Anthony Elding, has left Cork City after having his contract cancelled by mutual consent.

Elding scored the winner for Sligo Rovers against Drogheda United and was signed by Cork during the close season.

However, the English-born striker has played in just two league games for John Caulfield's City side since his arrival at Turner's Cross last November.

In a statement confirming Elding's departure, the club thanked the 32-year-old for his service during his time with the Leeside outfit and wished him well.

"The club would like to thank Anthony for his contribution to Cork City FC and wish him the best of luck for the future," the statement read.

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