LOI trio named on standby.
Stephen Kenny has named League of Ireland trio Rory Gaffney, Neil Farrugia and Brian Maher on standby for the upcoming friendlies against Norway and Malta.
The Ireland manager named a 25-man squad for the double-header on Wednesday, with youngsters Evan Ferguson and Will Smallbone both earning their first senior call-ups.
The pair could yet be joined by their U21 teammate Maher, with the goalkeeper being named on standby after impressing between the sticks for Jim Crawford’s side in the recent European Championship qualifying campaign.
Maher is rewarded for his form for Premier Division runners-up Derry City, and will gain some experience of the Aviva Stadium this Sunday when the Candystripes face Shelbourne in the FAI Cup Final.
Shamrock Rovers duo Gaffney and Farrugia have also been told by Kenny to be prepared, after both enjoyed fine seasons for the League of Ireland champions at home and in Europe.
SQUAD ANNOUNCED | Norway & Malta @OfficialBHAFC striker Evan Ferguson receives his first senior call-up as well as Will Smallbone 👏
Five players return to the squad including @dundeeunitedfc midfielder Jamie McGrath ⤵️
17/11 | 🇮🇪🆚🇳🇴
20/11 | 🇲🇹🆚🇮🇪
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) November 10, 2022
Shamrock Rovers duo named on standby.
Earlier this week, 33-year-old Gaffney was named SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Ireland Player of the Month for October, after scoring three goals for Stephen Bradley’s side over the course of the month.
Hoops teammate Farrugia scored in Kenny’s first game as Ireland U21 manager back in 2019, and was recently cited by the manager as the League of Ireland player with the biggest chance of making a senior international breakthrough.
“I’m honest the one I like that has the most potential to be a senior international is not in the Rovers team – Neil Farrugia – but he has just had terrible injuries,” said Kenny back in September.
While a number of injuries may be required for any of the LOI trio to get on the pitch against Norway or Malta, the door is now very much open for them to be called up to the squad should misfortune fall on any of Kenny’s players.
An U21s record was broken on Friday night by @brianmaher00
Most cleansheets in a single #U21EURO campaign by an Ireland goalkeeper 🧤⛔️#IRLU21 | #WeAreOne | #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/yAUt9JDI4D
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) June 6, 2022
Elsewhere in the squad, Dundee United’s Jamie McGrath makes a return, while Shane Duffy has been left out due to personal reasons.
Conor Hourihane and Jason Knight will not be released by Derby County, as the League One club will be playing during the international window.
Ireland host Norway at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday November 17th, with Manchester City forward Erling Haaland included in the opposition’s squad.
Kenny’s men will then jet off to Malta for another friendly on Sunday November 20th.
The full Ireland squad for the games can be viewed here.
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