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It's an absolutely huge couple of days for these 16 Irish footballers

Cork-born midfielder Conor Hourihane is among the players hoping to help Aston Villa gain promotion to the Premier League.

Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane has scored 11 goals in the Championship this season.
Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane has scored 11 goals in the Championship this season.
Image: Tim Goode

The Championship

CYRUS CHRISTIE IS likely to be involved in some capacity for Fulham, who take on Derby in Friday night’s semi-final first-leg. The Irish international has been a sporadic presence in the Cottagers side, starting on just one occasion since joining from Middlesbrough in January. However, he is likely to at least be an option from the bench for their two big upcoming matches.

For the Rams, Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce could feature. Keogh has made 43 appearances in all competitions for Derby, while Pearce has played 10 times, with six of those games coming in April.

There is plenty of Irish interest in the other semi-final too. Conor Hourihane (44 appearances this season), Glenn Whelan (33 apperances) and Scott Hogan (40 apperances) are all in contention to feature for Aston Villa.

For Boro, meanwhile, experienced Ireland number one Darren Randolph has been a regular in goals.

11 May

Derby v Fulham

12 May

Middlesbrough v Aston Villa

14 May

Fulham v Derby

15 May

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough

26 May

Final

League One

Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town - Sky Bet League One - AESSEAL New York Stadium Rotherham United's Richie Towell celebrates after he scores a goal. Source: Clint Hughes

On-loan Brighton star Richie Towell (43 appearances) and Limerick native Anthony Forde (46 appearances) are both set to be involved for Rotherham against Scunthorpe. Former Ireland international Darren Potter has been out injured since December, so it remains to be seen whether he will have any part to play.

In the other game, Cork-born striker Billy Clarke will be an interested observer from the sidelines, as his Charlton side take on Shrewsbury. Clarke is currently undergoing rehabilitation after picking up an ACL injury in December.

10 May

Charlton v Shrewsbury

12 May

Scunthorpe v Rotherham

13 May

Shrewsbury v Charlton

16 May

Rotherham v Scunthorpe

27 May

Final

League Two

Cheltenham Town v Coventry City - Sky Bet League Two - LCI Rail Stadium Coventry City's Michael Doyle. Source: Chris Radburn

Dubliner Sean Long is likely to be involved in the matchday squad at least for Lincoln against Exeter City. Long featured frequently for his side in the first half of the season, but has appeared just twice in League Two since the turn of the year.

For Exeter, ex-Ireland U21 international Liam McAlinden and former Reading and Bray Wanderers youngster Pierce Sweeney are expected to line out.

In addition, Coventry will almost certainly be captained by 36-year-old Dublin-born midfielder Michael Doyle, though on-loan Reading teenager Josh Barrett is less likely to be involved, having made just six league appearances since joining the Sky Blues in January.

12 May

Lincoln v Exeter City

Coventry City v Notts County

17 May

Exeter City v Lincoln

Notts County v Coventry City

28 May

Final

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Paul Fennessy

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