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Preston's Sean Maguire included in Ireland squad ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers

The former Cork City striker has been touted for a call-up in recent months.

Sean Maguire scored 20 goals for Cork City in the League of Ireland this season before leaving to join Preston.
Sean Maguire scored 20 goals for Cork City in the League of Ireland this season before leaving to join Preston.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Updated at 13.43

IRELAND BOSS MARTIN O’Neill has named a 39-man provisional squad for the Boys in Green’s upcoming 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia, with Preston’s Sean Maguire included for the first time.

The former Cork City striker has been touted for a call-up in recent months after showing excellent form in the League of Ireland with his 20 goals seeing him top the scoring charts and earn a move to The Championship.

O’Neill previously insisted Maguire was not ready to step up at international level, but explained that he had been impressed by the 23-year-old of late.

“I thought he was excellent (in Cork’s 3-0 win) against Dundalk. He is in the provisional squad. I hope he can get a chance,” the Irish boss said of Maguire at today’s press conference.

Elsewhere, Stephen Quinn, Greg Cunningham, Ciaran Clark and David Meyler all feature, having been unavailable for the summer clashes with Mexico, Uruguay and Austria due to injury, while Preston’s Alan Browne also gets a call-up.

Some notable names miss out, however, with Andy Boyle, Marc Wilson, Adam Rooney, Stephen Gleeson and Darron Gibson all absent.

Ireland U17 Player of the Year Declan Rice, who featured from the bench for West Ham against Man United on Sunday, has not not done enough to warrant a first official call-up, having trained with the Ireland squad ahead of the summer clashes.

Striker Cillian Sheridan is also overlooked, despite a fine start to the season with Polish club Jagiellonia Bialystok.

In addition to Maguire, Wolves’ Matt Doherty and Reading’s Liam Kelly are the only other uncapped members of the squad.

Ireland travel to face Georgia on 2 September before hosting current Group D leaders Serbia three days later.

Provisional Ireland squad to face Georgia and Serbia:

Goalkeepers: Colin Doyle (Bradford City), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Middlesbrough), Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby County), Paul McShane (Reading), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), John O’Shea (Sunderland), John Egan (Brentford), Kevin Long, Stephen Ward (Burnley), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Greg Cunningham (Preston), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle).

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady (Burnley), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Eunan O’Kane (Leeds United), Liam Kelly (Reading), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), James McCarthy (Everton), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Daryl Horgan (Preston North End), Jonathan Hayes (Celtic), Alan Browne (Preston), David Meyler (Hull), Stephen Quinn (Reading).

Forwards: Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Nottingham Forest), Shane Long (Southampton), Jonathan Walters (Burnley), Sean Maguire (Preston).

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