Cork midfielder Alan Browne called into Irish squad

Former Ringmahon Ranger was unavailable for the loss to Portugal
Cork midfielder Alan Browne called into Irish squad

Alan Browne was flying high for Ireland away to Serbia back in March. Picture: Sportsfile

CORK'S Alan Browne has been called up into the Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifiers with against Azerbaijan and Serbia.

The Preston North End midfielder, and Ringmahon Rangers and Cork City graduate, is joined by Callum Robinson and Liam Scales.

The FAI also announced that injury has ruled out defenders Dara O'Shea and Nathan Collins from the two games.

Browne returns to the squad after a period of self-isolation due to being a close contact of a positive Covid case. The Preston captain started Ireland’s qualifiers against Serbia and Luxembourg last March, and he scored the first goal of the campaign away in Belgrade.

Cork's John Egan and Adam Idah starred for Ireland on Wednesday night in the gutting defeat away to Portugal, while Caoimhín Kelleher and Conor Hourihane are also on the panel.

Robinson will link up with Ireland after overcoming Covid for the second time in a year. The striker is going into this weekend’s qualifier on the back of an impressive run of form for West Brom, which has produced three goals in four games.

Scales, who just joined Celtic from Shamrock Rovers, has received his first call-up to the Republic of Ireland senior team.

Ahead of the game against Azerbaijan on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium, Stephen Kenny heaped praise on Browne, but he doesn’t know if the midfielder will feature.

Alan Browne had an injury and he was a close contact, so he hasn’t played in a couple of weeks. But, he had a good start of the season for Preston. I saw him play and he did really well for Preston.

The Ireland manager also revealed that Callum Robinson could play at the weekend. 

"He’s certainly in contention. He had a good preseason at West Brom and he started the season brilliantly. I’ve seen a few of his games live and he scored three goals.

"He was unfortunate to be out for 10 days. He trained yesterday in England and he just came into the squad. We’ll have to see how they train today and we will make decisions based on that." 

The Boys in Green are currently missing Shane Long, who tested positive for COVID before the Portugal game on Wednesday evening.

Stephen Kenny gave an update on the former Cork City striker’s situation, which was also a warning for the severity of the ongoing pandemic.

"Shane has to obviously stay in Portugal which is very unfortunate.

"He doesn’t know how he got Covid. He plays guitar in his own in his room a lot. He brought his guitar with him and he plays away, practicing, in his room by himself. He’s a very careful person who always has a mask on. 

"We don’t know how he got it. The virus doesn’t discriminate. We had a player who got the virus in the last couple of weeks who was double vaccinated. Sometimes these things are hard to believe."

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