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5 Irish footballers we'd like to see make their international debuts in 2017

The likes of Conor Hourihane, John Egan and Daryl Horgan are knocking have been pushing to be capped for Ireland.

MARTIN O’NEILL HANDED first senior international caps to four players in 2016.

Alan Judge, Eunan O’Kane, Jonny Hayes and Callum O’Dowda all made their Ireland debuts last year, but further fresh blood is likely to be needed as the Boys in Green chase a place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Next up is a crucial qualifier at home to Wales on 24 March, and that is followed by two friendlies — against Iceland and Uruguay — which could be the perfect opportunity to test out those knocking on the door.

Here are five players we hope to see don the green jersey soon:

Conor Hourihane (Barnsley) – The Cork-born midfielder has been one of the Championship’s best players over the past two seasons. Hourihane’s left foot is a real danger from set-pieces and he’s got an eye for both goals and assists.

Leeds United v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship - Elland Road Source: Dave Howarth

John Egan (Brentford) – Since making the move from Gillingham last summer, Egan has been an ever-present at centre-half for the Bees and the former U21 international — son of the legendary Kerry footballer of the same name — is expected to receive his first senior call-up sooner rather than later.

Newcastle United v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship - St James' Park Egan up against Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Daryl Horgan (Preston North End) – The League of Ireland’s stand-out player in 2016, Horgan caught the attention of numerous English clubs with his performances in the Europa League, in particular, and joined Championships side Preston North End with Lilywhites team-mate Andy Boyle. Named in the Ireland squad along with Boyle for the win over Austria, but he was an unused substitute in Vienna.

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Republic of Ireland Media Activity - FAI National Training Centre Horgan (centre) was in the last Ireland squad along with Dundalk team-mate Andy Boyle (right). Source: Brian Lawless

Scott Hogan (Brentford) – The English-born Irish-qualified striker has caught the attention of Ireland’s management team with his displays for Brentford over the past year, and Martin O’Neill has expressed an interest in bringing him on board. Yet to commit yet, however.

Brentford v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Hogan holds off Reading captain Paul McShane. Source: Adam Davy

Chris Forrester (Peterborough United) – Tipped for big things after scoring a number of outrageous goals during his time at St Patrick’s Athletic, Forrester is carving out a career in League One as captain of Peterborough United. Still only 23 and made one Ireland provisional squad last year, but will probably need to make the step up to the Championship first.

Peterborough United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - ABAX Stadium Forrester has been made captain of The Posh. Source: EMPICS Sport

Which players would you like to see make their international bow?

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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