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'It is the right decision for me': Dundalk-born striker O'Connor declares for Northern Ireland

Michael O’Connor hopes to earn a call-up to Ian Baraclough’s U21 side in the near future.

The 20-year-old joined Linfield in July and has scored four goals this season.
The 20-year-old joined Linfield in July and has scored four goals this season.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

FORMER SHAMROCK ROVERS and Finn Harps striker Michael O’Connor confirmed he has decided to switch allegiances from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.

The 20-year-old began his career at Bristol City having moved from St Kevin’s Boys, but returned to Dundalk’s U19s in 2014. The forward spent one season each with Stephen Kenny’s Lilywhites, Rovers and Harps, but last year agreed a deal to join Linfield.

Born in Dundalk but able to declare for Northern Ireland via his grandmother, O’Connor said that he hopes to break into former Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough’s U21 side in the near future.

“It is true that I’ve declared for Northern Ireland,” he said speaking to the Belfast Telegaph.

“My nanny Patricia is from Dundalk like me but she was born in Belfast, and I think it is the right decision for me, so going forward hopefully I will be playing for Northern Ireland.

“I just turned 20 in July so I can play in the next campaign for the U21s, and hopefully if I’m doing things right and scoring goals for Linfield I’ll get the nod.”

O’Connor was given his Dundalk debut by new Ireland U21 boss Kenny in April 2016, picking up a Premier Division title that season while also featuring against Legia Warsaw in a Champions League play-off.

He has previously represented Ireland at U19 level, making his international debut under Paul Doolin against Latvia at Eamonn Deacy Park in November 2015.

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Aaron Gallagher

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