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All you need to know about the 4 newest additions to the Ireland squad

Shaun Williams, Graham Burke, Conor O’Malley and Callum Robinson all received their first call-ups today.

Shaun Williams

Millwall v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - The Den Source: PA Wire/PA Images

  • Shaun Williams is a 31-year-old Millwall player from Dublin.
  • He began his senior career at Drogheda United, going on loan to both Dundalk and Finn Harps.
  • In 2009, he joined Sporting Fingal, where his performances earned him the PFAI Young Player of the Year award.
  • He joined MK Dons in 2011, going on to make over 100 appearances for the club as well as being named Player of the Year and the Players’ Player of the Year at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
  • Williams is known for his versatility — he can play in both defence and midfield.
  • In January 2014, he joined Millwall, signing a two-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee.
  • He has gone on to impress at the Den, making over 100 appearances there.
  • This season, he has played 40 matches in all competitions, scoring twice, as his side finished eighth in the Championship.

Conor O’Malley

Cambridge United v Peterborough United - Checkatrade Trophy - Southern Group H - Abbey Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

  • Conor O’Malley is a 23-year-old goalkeeper, currently with Peterborough United, who comes from Westport in Mayo.
  • At underage level, he played for Westport United, Mervue United and Salthill Devon, going on to represent the latter two clubs at senior level.
  • After a spell with Shamrock Rovers B in 2014, he joined St Patrick’s Athletic, where he got a taste of Premier Division football.
  • Upon joining former Pat’s star Chris Forrester at Peterborough United in August 2017, he was described as the country’s “best young goalkeeper”.
  • He has played nine times in League One since making the switch to England, with his most recent appearance coming amid a 3-1 loss to Blackburn last month.
  • O’Malley, who has spent time working as an actuary, is well aware of the importance of education for footballers. In an interview with The42 last August, he said:  “Older players are going back to college now, because they didn’t have the chance to do it when they were younger. I think players in the league are more knowledgeable about planning for their future now. I studied maths at Maynooth and am in actuary and financial services now. I worked in the off-season but told my employers that I wanted to give football another few years full-time. I was in college for the past few years and it’s only in the last four months that I’ve experienced full-time football. Maybe in a few years I will do both, but for now I’m happy to just play football.”

Callum Robinson

Preston North End v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - Deepdale Source: PA Archive/PA Images

  • Robinson is a 23-year-old Northampton-born Preston attacker.
  • He represented England at underage level, but first declared his interest in representing Ireland in an exclusive interview with The42 last March.
  • He qualifies to represent the Boys in Green through his Monaghan-born maternal grandmother.
  • Robinson started his career at Aston Villa, coming through the underage system there, and making four appearances for the then-Premier League club.
  • He had loan spells at Bristol City and Preston, before joining the latter on a permanent deal in 2016.
  • Robinson has scored eight goals in 43 appearances for the Lilywhites this season

Graham Burke

Graham Burke Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

  • Graham Burke is a 24-year-old attacker who currently plays for Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland.
  • He played youth football with Belvedere before joining Aston Villa. He didn’t make a first-team appearance in five years at Villa, and spent time on loan at Shrewsbury and Notts County, before signing with the latter permanently.
  • After one full season playing in League Two, he made the move back to Ireland to link up with Shamrock Rovers.
  • Boss Stephen Bradley has been full of praise for Burke, recently saying: “Graham can do anything he wants to do,” while adding:  “The problem last year with Graham was when he came on, he got sent off. And we needed to sit down and talk about that.”
  • Along with Dundalk’s Pat Hoban, he is currently the Premier Division’s joint-top scorer with nine goals.
  • He has a tendency to score spectacular goals (see below).

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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