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Sammie Szmodics in Ireland training last October. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

John O'Shea's first - and perhaps only - Ireland squad as manager named ahead of friendlies

26-man squad announced for friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland.

JOHN O’SHEA HAS named his first – and perhaps only – squad as Republic of Ireland head coach.

Sammie Szmodics is included for the upcoming international friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium, while Jake O’Brien and Finn Azaz earn their first senior call-ups.

Robbie Brady, Seamus Coleman, Michael Obafemi and Callum O’Dowda all return to the 26-man squad. 

Szmodics has been in red-hot goalscoring form for Blackburn Rovers in the Championship this season. Stephen Kenny recruited the striker and named him in multiple squads, but he is yet to be capped. Interim boss O’Shea could now hand the 28-year-old his debut.

Alan Browne, Shane Duffy and Callum Robinson are among notable absentees. 

Kevin De Bruyne was left out of the Belgium squad earlier today.

Republic of Ireland squad


Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Nathan Collins (Brentford), Andrew Omobamidele (Nottingham Forest), Dara O’Shea (Burnley), Liam Scales (Celtic), Jake O’Brien (Lyon), Robbie Brady (Preston North End), Festy Ebosele (Udinese).

Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Burnley), Jason Knight (Bristol City), Will Smallbone (Southampton). Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), Callum O’Dowda (Cardiff City), Mark Sykes (Bristol City), Finn Azaz (Middlesbrough), Mikey Johnston (West Bromwich Albion). 

Forwards: Evan Ferguson (Brighton and Hove Albion), Adam Idah (Celtic), Michael Obafemi (Millwall, on loan from Burnley), Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn Rovers), Chiedozie Ogbene (Luton Town), Troy Parrott (Excelsior, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur). 


  • Saturday 23 March – Ireland v Belgium, Aviva Stadium, 5pm
  • Tuesday 26 March – Ireland v Switzerland, Aviva Stadium, 7.45pm.

Written by Emma Duffy. The Journal publishes the biggest breaking news in Irish and international sport but for all of The 42′s insightful analysis and sharp sportswriting, subscribe here.

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