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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 19 June, 2019
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Bolton starlet Connell a surprise inclusion as McCarthy finalises squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers

The England-eligible teenager has impressed in the Championship this season.

Luca Connell at last year's U17 European Championships.
Luca Connell at last year's U17 European Championships.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MICK MCCARTHY HAS sprung a surprise by including Irish U19 international Luca Connell in the squad for the upcoming training camp in Portugal along the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Denmark and Gibraltar in June. 

Connell has been a regular in the Bolton midfield at Championship level this season, and while he has been capped at U17 and U19 level for Ireland, he was born in Liverpool and remains eligible to play for England. 

It is thought that there has been interest on England’s part in making that happen.

“Luca deserves this opportunity,” said McCarthy. 

“With midfielders Conor Hourihane, Glenn Whelan and Josh Cullen all on play-off duty with their clubs in the coming weeks, this is the perfect chance to get Luca into the squad.

“He has had a fine season with Bolton playing 15 times in total and even with their relegation troubles, he has impressed so many people. I know a number of big clubs have sent scouts to watch him so this is a chance to get him in to work with the senior players and see how he gets on.”

Hourihane, Whelan and Cullen will all miss this week’s training camp in Faro as they have qualified for play-off finals with Aston Villa and Charlton respectively. Richard Keogh also misses out, given his impending Wembley appearance against Villa for Derby County. 

All four will join up with the Irish squad in Dublin ahead of the trip to Copenhagen to play Denmark on 7 June. 

Norway-based goalkeeper Sean McDermott comes in for the injured Kieran O’Hara, while Harry Arter, Jack Byrne, James Collins and Aiden O’Brien have been cut from the provisional squad. 

After the date in Copenhagen, McCarthy’s squad return to Dublin to face Gibraltar on 10 June. 

Republic of Ireland Squad
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), John Egan (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City)
Midfielders: Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic*), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth)
Forwards: David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa), Callum Robinson (Preston North End)

*Indicates the player is on loan

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Gavin Cooney

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