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One Of Irish Football's Most Exciting Prospects Could Be Heading For The Championship

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Eyebrows rose in May when Callum O'Dowda was included in Martin O'Neill's 35-man provisional squad for the European Championships.

The 21-year-old had just finished a successful season with Oxford United where he aided them in promotion to League One. O'Dowda made 50 appearances in all for Oxford - starting 27 games. He also scored ten and assisted five.

Those eyebrows rose even further when O'Neill gave O'Dowda his senior international debut in Ireland's final warm-up game before the European Championships. In a 2-1 loss to Belarus at Turner's Cross, the winger came off the bench to replace Aiden McGeady. His 20 minutes on the pitch were of real note. He immediately became the game's most exciting player, retaining possession while also making incisive passes and runs.

He had the look of a player who had just been told 'here's your chance, you could make the Euros squad' by Martin O'Neill or Roy Keane. At the end of the game, as O'Neill's final squad was awaited, there were slightly fanciful thoughts that O'Dowda - a League Two player - could be part of the 23 heading to France.

Of course that didn't happen. Still, right now, O'Dowda looks like a real prospect for Irish football.


His development as a player could take place away from Oxford United.


According to the Oxford Mail, interest in the Ireland international is 'intensifying'.

Over the weekend, Oxford manager Michael Appleton was adamant the club did not want to sell the player.

Today, he appears less confident. Bristol City, who finished 18th in the Championship last season, have apparently opened talks over a 'seven figure' move for O'Dowda.


The line from Appleton now is one of uncertainty.

I’ve got no idea what’s going on to be honest.

I’m fully focused on the players who are over here.

Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile


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