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Big Ireland Opportunity For Caoimhín Kelleher As Gavin Bazunu Ruled Out

Big Ireland Opportunity For Caoimhín Kelleher As Gavin Bazunu Ruled Out
By PJ Browne Updated

Gavin Bazunu has been forced to withdraw from the Ireland squad for this month's friendlies due to illness.

Bristol City's Max O'Leary has been called up in his place. The 26-year-old English-born goalkeeper qualifies to play for Ireland through his Kerry-born grandfather. He has made 11 appearances for the Championship club this season. It is his first Ireland call-up since May 2019.

O'Leary joins Liverpool's Caoimhín Kelleher and Bohemians' James Talbot as the goalkeepers in Stephen Kenny's squad. Talbot was called up this week after Bournemouth's Mark Travers was ruled out by injury.

Bazunu's misfortune represents a major chance for Kelleher to add this his two Ireland caps. The 23-year-old won his caps last year against Hungary and Qatar. Bazunu has been the first choice goalkeeper under Stephen Kenny.

Ireland play Belgium at the Aviva Stadium at 5pm on Saturday, and then Lithuania, also at the Aviva Stadium, at 7:45pm on Tuesday.

Ireland squad for Belgium and Lithuania friendlies

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), James Talbot (Bohemians), Max O'Leary (Bristol City).

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Nathan Collins (Burnley), Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Jimmy Dunne (Queens Park Rangers).

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Midfielders: Conor Hourihane (Sheffield United, on loan from Aston Villa), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Jeff Hendrick (QPR, on loan from Newcastle United), Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Jason Knight (Derby County), Mark Sykes (Oxford United).

Forwards: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion), Troy Parrott (MK Dons, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Will Keane (Wigan Athletic), Scott Hogan (Birmingham City), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Connor Ronan (St. Mirren, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Featured image by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

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See Also: Welcome To The First Ever International Break for the League of Ireland

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