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FAI begin eligibility process after Ogbene expresses desire to represent Ireland

The form of the 23-year-old winger helped Rotherham United to achieve promotion back to the Championship.

Chiedozie Ogbene in possession for Rotherham United during an FA Cup game against Hull City in January.
Chiedozie Ogbene in possession for Rotherham United during an FA Cup game against Hull City in January.
Image: EMPICS Sport

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland has begun the paperwork for the eligibility process relating to Chiedozie Ogbene.

The Rotherham United winger “has expressed his desire to represent the Republic of Ireland at international level to national team boss Stephen Kenny”, according to a statement issued by the FAI this morning.

Ogbene, who was born in Nigeria but grew up in Grange on the southside of Cork city, has never played international football at any level.

The 23-year-old excelled in England during the 2019-20 season, playing a key role as Rotherham achieved promotion back to the Championship.

Describing him as “unplayable” after a 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers in a League One game in January, Millers manager Paul Warne added: “He will have a great career if he keeps playing at that level. If Chio continues in the form he is in, he will be a hard one to keep hold of.”

The lightning-quick attacker generated significant cross-channel interest in 2017 after impressing while playing for Limerick. He joined the Blues from hometown club Cork City, where he was a member of their 2016 FAI Cup-winning side.

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Ogbene’s career in England began at Brentford, who signed him on a three-and-a-half-year contract. Opportunities were scarce at Griffin Park, but after impressing while on loan at Exeter City, he was snapped up by Rotherham on a three-year deal last summer.

As he prepares for September’s Uefa Nations League games against Bulgaria and Finland, new Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has also finalised his backroom staff.

Gary Seery will work as an assistant to head analyst Ger Dunne. Danny Miller is to join Kevin Mulholland as a chartered physiotherapist, with Colum O’Neill and Sam Rice set for involvement as athletic therapists. Responsibility for equipment and kit will rest with Mal Slattery and Fergus McNally.

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Paul Dollery

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