Dara O’Shea and Callum Robinson on target in West Brom’s big win

Baggies keep up impressive start as Blades remain without a win

On the premise that Stephen Kenny needs to base his Republic of Ireland squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers on the form of Irish players at English clubs, the Dubliner is finally getting a rub of the green.

Dara O'Shea is not supposed to be scoring but the 22-year-old centre back scrambled his second of the season in West Bromwich Albion's 4-0 win over John Egan's Sheffield United at the Hawthorns.

Callum Robinson was also among the goals, claiming a third in as many games as West Brom look to instantly return to the Premier League. Down the other end, retired Irish striker David McGoldrick missed a sitter as Sheffield's miserable goalless streak continues.

O'Shea's rock-solid performance gives Kenny real defensive options following Shane Duffy's return to the Brighton & Hove Albion side for last Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnley, after which the Derry man was named in the top flight team of the week.


"I was in a really low place and thought Premier League football is probably over for me," said Duffy on return from a loan spell at Celtic when he reached "rock bottom" on and off the pitch. "But I have got good people around me and the club is like home for me. I've been proving people wrong all my career and that is what I will do again."

Mark Travers kept a clean sheet and Gavin Kilkenny continued to excel in midfield as Bournemouth beat Birmingham City 1-0 at St Andrew's. Kilkenny, the 21-year-old Dubliner, won nine under-21 caps under Kenny in 2019.

Also in the Championship, Blackburn Rovers captain Darragh Lenihan scored the late decider in a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

Bazunu save League One standards may pale in comparison to the Championship, never mind what Portugal and Ronaldo will bring to Estadio Algarve on September 1st, but Gavin Bazunu's match-winning save for Portsmouth against Shrewsbury on Tuesday night was only bettered by Troy Parrott's second goal of the season.

Parrott, on loan to MK Dons from Tottenham Hotspur, picked up where he left off this summer when he scored twice against Andorra, with similar goals in as many games, running off the shoulder of centre halves before finishing with his second touch. And there was a slick assist for Mo Eisa's winner to see off Charlton Athletic.

"Troy's adamant he meant the touch for the second one," said MK Dons manager Liam Williams. "He was quick to tell me afterwards."

Bazunu has also established himself in the third tier of English football with a vital save of an Aaron Pierre goalbound header in injury-time.

"Gavin did what top goalkeepers do," said Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley. "He hardly had a shot to save, but when called upon made a brilliant stop late on."

The 19-year-olds, Bazunu and Parrott, are on course to remain in Kenny's starting XI away to Portugal and for the return of supporters to the Aviva stadium for the Azerbaijan and Serbia matches even if the Ireland manager has options in both positions. Kenny announces his squad next Thursday.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent