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Best Balls Of The Week: 5 Granny Rule Players Martin O'Neill Could Take A Look At

Best Balls Of The Week: 5 Granny Rule Players Martin O'Neill Could Take A Look At
By Mark Farrelly
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Mark Noble has found himself the top Irish sports story today due to rumours Martin O'Neill will be keeping an eye on him against Crystal Palace tonight.

O'Neill looks to be very serious in his attempts to recruit more players via the Granny Rule, and while there aren't many big names boasting Irish ancestry, we've taken a look at a few possible candidates:

Jon Flanagan

According to the Daily Star, O'Neill is already making his move for the Liverpool right back whose grandparents are Irish. He has played at underage level for England but was apparently close to making the Irish switch in 2012.

He has plenty of potential but the Liverpool fan who refused to watch last month's match against Arsenal after hearing Flanagan was starting doesn't inspire much confidence.

Lukas Jutkiewicz

'How could he not be Irish!?' says you, with a good midlands name like 'Jutkiewicz'. The Middlesbrough striker has endured a torrid time this season after falling out of favour at Teeside.

However he has been linked with a move to Blackburn in recent weeks and perhaps a fresh start could see him go on a decent run of form and become a serious candidate for an Ireland call-up, thanks to his grandmother.

Marc Tierney

When searching through the phonebook of grannies in English football you won't find much in the way of Premier League experience but Marc Tierney is one man with proven pedigree.


He was first choice Norwich right back in their Paul Lambert led Premier League season but a serious injury in early 2011 ruled him out for the rest of the campaign and alas, he never recovered his place in the team. He joined Bolton over the summer but after an impressive start has again found himself sidelined with an injury.

Richard Stearman

Another defender with Premier League experience, Stearman was one of those aboard the good ship Wolverhampton Wanderers as it sank into obscurity over the last two seasons.

He spent most of last season on loan with Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town but is now back playing with Wolves in League One. Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt have already done the ground work for O'Neill, convincing Stearman to get an Irish passport and in October, FIFA gave him the green light to play for the Republic.



Andy Lonergan 

The Bolton goalkeeper and former Leeds United captain, has found himself in the starting line-up in recent weeks due to an Adam Bogdan injury and while we have a few choices for the goalkeeper role, the 30-year-old is worth keeping an eye on.

When it comes to international football he's had a complicated past, playing for Ireland at U16s but then switching to England. However he has recently said he is open to an Ireland call-up.



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