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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

Conor Hourihane and the other new faces we'd like to see in tomorrow's Ireland squad

The Boys in Green face Georgia and Moldova in World Cup qualifiers next month.

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill is in Dublin tomorrow morning to name his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

First up is Georgia at the Aviva Stadium on 6 October, before the team head to Chisinau to face Moldova three days later.

Below, we take a look at some of the fresh blood that could be added to the current group of players.

1. Conor Hourihane

He has been impressing at club level for a couple of years now, but Cork-born Conor Hourihane has really come to the fore with his performances for Barnsley this season.

Barnsley v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Oakwell Barnsley skipper Conor Hourihane. Source: Anna Gowthorpe

The 25-year-old midfielder, who was managed by his idol Roy Keane at Sunderland and Ipswich Town, has been inspirational as club captain for the newly-promoted Tykes in the Championship — scoring three goals and creating five assists.

As a result, former Ireland U21 international Hourihane was named Championship Player of the Month for August, and having been watched by Keane and Martin O’Neill, he deserves to be rewarded with a first senior call-up.

2. Scott Hogan

As the Championship’s most in-form striker, Scott Hogan has been earning attention at both club and international level. The 24-year-old striker has scored 13 goals in his last 15 league appearances and sits joint-top of the goalscoring charts for this season on 6.

Brentford v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Hogan has six goals in the Championship this season. Source: Adam Davy

Eligible to play for Ireland through his grandparents, English-born Hogan bagged a hat-trick in front of Martin O’Neill just last weekend.

The Boys in Green are hardly blessed with an abundance of forwards, so the 24-year-old could be a real asset for years to come.

However, after enduring a torrid time with injuries, he has stated that he wants to focus on his club career right now. He’s also reportedly scheduled for rehabilitation work over the next international period so we may have to wait until November for his inclusion.

3. John Egan

Hogan’s club-mate John Egan has also been catching the eye with his displays for the Bees.

The son of the late ex-Kerry footballer John Egan and a former Sunderland academy product, the 23-year-old defender was signed from Gillingham in the summer.

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Brentford v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Brentford defender John Egan. Source: Steven Paston

Capped at U21 level for Ireland, Egan has since played every minute at centre-half for Dean Smith’s side, who have won four games, drew two and lost two — conceding just four goals along the way.

4. Daryl Horgan

The real success story of Irish football in recent times and, in particular, this year has been the achievements of Dundalk under Stephen Kenny.

Back-to-back league titles, a league and cup double in 2015, and the manner in which they have acquitted themselves in the Champions League and the Europa League, has inevitably led to calls for a couple of Lilywhites stars to gain international recognition.

Daryl Horgan Horgan in action against AZ Alkmaar. Source: Karel Delvoije/INPHO

In a team full of talent, 24-year-old winger Daryl Horgan has been their stand-out player at times — combining wonderful creativity with goals from the left flank.

Dundalk’s progression to the Europa League group stages will make it even more difficult for them to hold onto one of their biggest assets and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Galway native was to earn a move away in the near future.

O’Neill has hinted at including League of Ireland players in the past and it would be great to get him involved given the season he is having.

Who would you like to see included?

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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