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A 'Granny Rule XI' We'd Love To See Playing For Ireland Some Day

Bill Gaine
By Bill Gaine
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This article originally appeared as a Twitter thread on the Irish Football Blog Twitter account.

We know that heritage can be complex.  It's not black and white as made out to be. You can be born outside of Ireland and still be Irish, and vice versa. While it's been brilliant to see Stephen Kenny give former League of Ireland footballers who might have been ignored during previous regimes a chance, so-called 'Granny Rule' players still have a huge role to play for Ireland. We’ve also seen Morocco perform with distinction using this rule at the last World Cup.

So with all that in mind, here is our Irish “Granny Rule XI” players we want to be considered for Ireland.

SEE ALSO: Where Are They Now: The Ireland Team From Giovanni Trapattoni's Final Game

Starting XI

GK: Christy Pym

Age: 27

Club: Mansfield Town

The current Mansfield Town keeper is currently their Number 1 as they lie in 7th in League 2. He has 7 clean sheets in 22/23. Given his young age for a keeper, he could certainly find his way into future Irish Squads even if it was to be as a backup.

RB: Max Bardell

Age: 20


Club: Derby

The former Manchester City Academy man and current Derby U23 remains eligible to represent Ireland, his versatility at being able to CB and RM along with being him being very pacy could be a big asset for Ireland if he ever chose to represent us.

CB: Aaron Donnelly

Age: 19


Club: Nottingham Forest

Despite Nottingham Forest man having played for Northern Ireland at U17 and U21 level  he remains eligible for Ireland and has been linked with a switch. Could he follow the steps of the likes of Shane Duffy and make the switch after U21 level? 

CB: Jake Clarke-Salter 

Age: 25


Club: QPR

The talented, left-footed CB expressed back in September that he was “open” to making the international switch to Ireland despite being a former England U21 Captain, don’t forget a certain Ciaran Clark captained England at U20 level.

LB: Dennis Cirkin 

Age: 20


Club: Sunderland

Despite being born in Ireland to Latvian parents the talented LB has never played for Ireland playing for England U16-U20. We don’t know if he has an interest, but if you call him up for the game vs Latvia you’ll get your answer quickly. He remains one of the most promising FBs in the EFL after starring for Sunderland. He’s now being linked with moves to Brentford or even back to Tottenham.

DM: CJ Egan-Riley

Age: 20


Club: Burnley

The former Ireland U16 international played for England at U16-U19 level but remains eligible for Ireland. He even made his debut in the Champions League for Manchester City vs Sporting back in March he helped keep a clean sheet for the club.  Currently with Burnley, he’s struggled for game time under Kompany this season but remains a talented prospect. Capable at CB, RB and CDM it could be worth exploring the option for him to switch back to Ireland.

CM: Jobe Bellingham

Age: 17

Club: Birmingham

The younger brother of Jude, Jobe is a talented young midfielder of his own right with top-class potential like his brother and is currently with Birmingham. Despite being a current U18 he remains eligible for Ireland through one of his grandparents.

CM: Jack McGlynn

Age: 19

Club: Philadelphia Union

The USA U20 International is eligible for Ireland through his Irish-born father. Jack is an extremely technical midfielder, a strong passer and someone who could transform the Irish Midfield! The FAI have been in contact so let’s hope we can persuade Jack to represent us.

RW: Sonny Perkins

Age: 18


Club: Leeds

Despite being an English U19 International,  the talented Leeds man who came through at West Ham is eligible for Ireland through one of his grandparents! Not only that but Sonny’s father Declan represented Ireland at U18 and U21 level. Perkins scored a massive goal for Leeds at the weekend against Cardiff. 

LW: Charlie McNeill 

Age: 19

Club: Manchester United

A natural CF but on this side, he’s playing off the LW a position which he’s comfortable in too. If you don’t know the name he’s worth a google. The Manchester United youngster has scored over 600 goals at Youth Level for Man United. Despite playing for England, at U15 and U16 level he hasn’t been capped at any level since 2019 and remains eligible for Ireland through a grandfather born in Roscommon.

CF: Liam Delap

Age: 19

Club: Man City (on loan at Stoke)

The Man City man on loan at Stoke is arguably one of the best up-and-coming strikers around! Similar to Sonny, Liam's father Rory represented Ireland but as Senior a Senior International also.  It’s very much a long shot (Delap played with the England U19s this summer( but Kenny has confirmed he remains optimistic about Liam declaring for Ireland and there’s been contact in the past.


Mikey Johnston 

Age: 23

Club: (on loan at Vitória Guimarães)

Born in Scotland but eligible for Ireland, Mikey has shown talent in fits and spurts so far but still is young enough to fulfil his promise which once saw him tracked by Chelsea. He's currently on loan at Vitória Guimarães and has impressed so far with 3 Goals and 3 Assists in 14 Games. Ireland is in desperate need of options on the wing and they could look no further than Mikey!

Louie Barry

Age: 19

Club: Aston Villa

the Aston Villa Academy product who spent time at the famed La Masia academy is currently on loan with MK Dons in League (1). Louie played for Ireland at U15 and U16 levels and hasn’t been capped by England since he played U18 in 2021!

Josh Martin 

Age: 21

Club: Norwich

After coming through at Arsenal the Norwich man is currently on loan with Barnsley he is a capable LW who can also operate at RW and elsewhere on the pitch. Josh has never played at International level for any country but remains eligible for Jamaica, Ireland and England.

Liam Kitching

Age: 23

Club: Barnsley

The Barnsley defender is another left-footed CB. It’s our understanding at Irish Football Blog that before the Covid-19 Pandemic, Liam and his management were in the process of getting an Irish passport. He qualifies through his grandmother from Kildare.

Dylan Lawlor

Age: 17

Club: Cardiff

The young CB who joined Cardiff at 7 is a current Wales U17 International but remains eligible to represent Ireland. He’s regularly represented  Wales across all ages even captaining the team at U16 level and also a member of the 2021 Victory Shield winning side A composed and accurate defender in and out of possession who uses his heading ability to command aerial duels.

Ronan Darcy

Age: 22

Club: Swindon

The Swindon attacking midfielder qualifies for Ireland through his father's side (his grandfather was Irish and born in Limerick). It’s our understanding that when he broke through at Bolton aged 17/18, he was touted to Noel King but nothing came of it. Currently at League (2) Swindon there’s plenty of time for Darcy to push on and maybe get involved in future Irish Squads especially if he can play up a few levels.

Paul Nebel

Age: 20

Club: Mainz (on loan at Karlsruher SC) 

Despite having played for Germany from U15-U20 level. Nebel qualifies for Ireland through his maternal grandmother and seems to be open to representing Ireland staying in the past that “Ireland has a special place in my heart and is like a second home to me”

This is how our “Irish Granny Rule 11” looks! This team has some elite potential and players who could be pivotal for Ireland if they ever wanted to represent us. As I’ve said, nationality is complex so they mightn’t want to play for us. But if you don’t ask you’ll never know

If you're interested in the next generation of Irish footballing talent, follow the Irish Football Blog on Twitter and Instagram. Alternatively, listen to their football podcast Peilcast and follow the Republic of Ireland Player Tracker on Twitter


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