Football

Five Of The Unfamiliar Faces And Names In Ireland's World Cup Qualifier Squad

Five Of The Unfamiliar Faces And Names In Ireland's World Cup Qualifier Squad

Martin O'Neill has named his 33-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova next month.

The squad features two uncapped players - Conor Hourihane and Danny Rogers - along with some unfamiliar names to the more casual football fan.

Conor Hourihane

Club: Barnsley Age: 25 Position: Midfield

The Barnsley captain, from Bandon in Cork, is in superb form for his club at the moment. He was named as the Championship's Player of the Month for August.

So far this season in eight league games he has three goals and four assists.

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Stats site WhoScored.com rate Hourihane as the most in form player in the Championship right now with an average rating of 8.34.

Ireland actually have three players in the site's Championship top 20. Brentford's John Egan and Wolves' Matt Doherty - neither of whom are in the Ireland squad - are ranked seventh and 13th respectively.

Hourihane is somewhat of a weapon and should he play, he would certainly be an option other than Robbie Brady at set pieces.

Danny Rogers

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Club: Aberdeen (on loan at Falkirk) Age: 22 Position: Goalkeeper

When the Aberdeen player was named in the 33, it had many wondering if it was a typo. 'Who is Danny Rogers? Surely they mean Gary Rogers' - the Dundalk keeper who has been involved with the Ireland camp of late.

It was no mistake. 22-year-old Danny Rogers is currently on loan at Scottish Championship side Falkirk.

Rogers has played at U21 level for Ireland. His inclusion must surely signal the end of David Forde's Ireland career. Forde is currently on loan at Portsmouth from Millwall and has been playing regularly in League Two.

Rogers was born in the US to an Irish mother and American father who moved to Ireland when he was five.

Stephen Gleeson
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Club: Birmingham Age: 28 Position: Midfield

Stephen Gleeson actually has two caps for Ireland. Both of those came on the infamous Steve Staunton-led tour of the US in 2007. It was not until April of this year, for the friendlies against Slovakia and Switzerland, that Gleeson was called up again.

Gleeson has made five appearances for Birmingham in the Championship this season.

Forward to 1:20 below to see his assist for a Jacques Maghoma goal against Leeds last month.

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Johnny Hayes

Club: Aberdeen Age: 28 Position: Winger

Surprisingly, there are two Aberdeen players in Martin O'Neill's squad and Adam Rooney is not one of them. There's the aforementioned Danny Rogers - along with Johnny Hayes.

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Hayes will be familiar to those who were keeping a keen eye on Ireland's build-up to the Euros. He made substitute appearances in the friendlies against Slovakia and Switzerland.

This season, he has three appearances for Aberdeen with one assist to his name.

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Callum O'Dowda

Club: Bristol City Age: 21 Position: Winger

Last season, O'Dowda was playing in League Two with Oxford who he helped to promotion. He has since made the leap to Championship football, leaving Oxford for Bristol City.

O'Dowda made his international debut in Ireland's last pre-Euro 2016 friendly against Belarus at Turner's Cross. In a 20-minute cameo, the 21-year-old really impressed.

His form in the league so far this season has been average. However, during the week in the League Cup against Fulham, we saw some sparkle. O'Dowda set of both of his side's goals as they came from one down.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

PJ Browne
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