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Kenny forced to ring changes for crucial Ireland U21 Euro qualifiers

Ireland manager hands trio their first call-ups as former Shamrock Rovers star Trevor Clarke also returns from injury.

Ireland U21 boss Stephen Kenny.
Ireland U21 boss Stephen Kenny.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

STEPHEN KENNY HAS been forced to name a depleted squad for the Republic of Ireland U21’s crucial Euro qualifiers with Armenia and Sweden. 

Through a combination of injury and promotion to Mick McCarthy’s senior side, Kenny will have to do without the services of strikers Troy Parrott and Jonathan Afolabi as they bid to remain top of Group One.

With Brighton winger Aaron Connolly also remaining with McCarthy’s men for the final Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Denmark later this month, Ireland’s attack has been severely blunted. 

Bohemians defender Darragh Leahy and Celtic’s Luca Connell both miss out through injury while Kenny already knew he would have to make do without influential duo Lee O’Connor and captain Jayson Molumby. 

Having suffered defeat in their last qualifier, going down 1-0 away to Iceland, that trip to Reykjavik was notable for more than just a first competitive loss under Kenny.

The result was compounded by O’Connor’s red card, who will be unavailable for the trip to Armenia along with midfielder Molumby, whose accumulation of yellow cards also rules him out.

Both will be back in contention for the visit of Sweden but it has forced Kenny into a major reshuffle.

Aston Villa’s Jack Clarke receives his first call-up as well as Hearts striker Aidan Keena and full-back Thomas O’Connor, who is currently on loan at Gillingham from Southampton. 

Trevor Clarke, now with Rotherham United, has returned to full fitness, and receives his first call-up since the victory over Luxembourg in March. 

Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu will link up with the Republic of Ireland U19 squad ahead of their Uefa qualifying round matches this month. 

Republic of Ireland U-21 Squad

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Conor Kearns (UCD AFC).

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Defenders: Thomas O’Connor (Gillingham, on loan from Southampton), Danny McNamara (Newport County, on loan from Millwall), Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Conor Masterson (QPR), Liam Scales (UCD AFC), Nathan Collins (Stoke City), Trevor Clarke (Rotherham).

Midfielders: Jason Knight (Derby County), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Jack Taylor (Barnet), Jack Clarke (Aston Villa), Connor Ronan (DAC Dunajská Streda, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers), Dan Mandroiu (Bohemians).

Wingers: Zack Elbouzedi (Waterford), Gavin Kilkenny (AFC Bournemouth), Neil Farrugia (Shamrock Rovers), Danny Grant (Bohemians).

Forwards: Adam Idah (Norwich City), Aidan Keena (Hearts), Michael Obafemi (Southampton). 

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