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Dunne clarifies international allegiance amid interest from Northern Ireland

‘I am a Dundalk lad and my dream has always been to play for the Republic of Ireland.’

Jimmy Dunne has joined Sunderland on loan from Burnley until the end of the season.
Jimmy Dunne has joined Sunderland on loan from Burnley until the end of the season.
Image: Richard Sellers

JIMMY DUNNE HAS insisted that he’s keen to represent the Republic of Ireland at senior level, despite interest in his services from Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.

The Dundalk-born defender has been capped by the Republic at U21 level. He was also among the substitutes when the Boys in Green played out a goalless draw with Denmark in the Uefa Nations League in November.

Dunne can still switch his allegiance as he has not yet played a competitive fixture at senior level. The 21-year-old, who qualifies to represent Northern Ireland via his grandparents, held discussions with Michael O’Neill last October.

However, in an interview with LMFM, he ruled out the prospect of an imminent switch to the North, explaining that his aim is to play for the Republic of Ireland.

“I am a Dundalk lad and my dream has always been to play for the Republic of Ireland,” he said. “That’s something I’ve always thought about. I’ve never considered it to be any other way.

“But as you grow older, if you’re not playing any international football, I can see why players would make a decision to play with someone to get the international experience.

“I’m hoping in the next few years, or maybe even sooner, to play for the Republic of Ireland.”

Last week, Dunne joined League One promotion chasers Sunderland on loan until the end of the season. He was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Luton Town.

The centre-back, who began his career in England at Manchester United, also had a successful loan spell with Scottish Premiership club Hearts earlier this season. 

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Paul Dollery

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