Troy Parrott puts his hand up as Ireland's attacking options dwindle

Conor Hourihane and Callum O’Dowda both score ahead of international break

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook believes Troy Parrott needs to push on after scoring his first goal in senior club football at the weekend. Although Ireland manager Stephen Kenny might have to hope that the teenager's next big breakthrough comes with Ireland in the coming international window for his attacking options look to be dwindling on other fronts.

Parrott kept his head to convert the gift presented to him in the opening minutes of the League One game against Plymouth Argyle with the young striker rather coolly stepping around Michael Cooper after a poor Adam Lewis back pass had landed his goalkeeper in difficulty.

“It’s great for him to get his goal because he’s a really nice young man,” said Cook afterwards. “He’s worked so hard in games. His work rate and desire is relentless, but from there he’s got to get goals. Flair players in teams have to score.”

That has certainly been an issue for Parrott during his two loan spells from Tottenham so far but prospects of a senior call up on Thursday when Kenny names his squad are improved by the fact that neither Aaron Connolly nor Adam Idah was involved with their club over the weekend.


Connolly, who made the headlines on Sunday after claims that he broke Covid rules in his personal time, missed Brighton’s win at Southampton with a cracked rib while Idah was ruled out of Norwich’s latest win by a problem with a hernia.

On a brighter note, Conor Hourihane and, on his return from injury, Callum O'Dowda, both got Championship goals for their clubs. Bristol City, who won 3-0 at Birmingham, play again on Wednesday night at Blackburn but the 25 year-old O'Dowda's prospects of being involved in the World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Luxembourg certainly look stronger for the moment.

With James McCarthy sidelined again by a groin strain that is expected to have him out for a month and John Egan already ruled out due to a dislocated toe, Kenny has plenty to weigh up over the coming few days. Darren Randolph's absence with a hip problem means the manager will be tracking the progress of Caoimhin Kelleher who has been out with a stomach muscle problem but had been expected to return to training ahead of Monday's game against Wolves. There was no confirmation from Liverpool of that return from the club on Sunday.

Mark Travers sat out Bournemouth's 3-2 home defeat by Barnsley but down in League One, Gavin Bazunu played an important part in Rochdale's win at Lincoln with the young Dubliner pulling off one particularly impressive save.

Of the more established squad members, Matt Doherty got 90 minutes for Tottenham in a north London derby they lost 2-1 while Robbie Brady got 25 minutes under his belt in Burnley's game at Everton. Seamus Coleman, who has missed out last weekend, got on for the last 17 this time. On Friday evening, Jeff Hendrick was an unused substitute in Newcastle's draw with Aston Villa.

The Irish squad is due to start gathering in Dublin next Sunday ahead of the trip to Belgrade for the opening game of the World Cup qualifying campaign on March 24th.

The team is back home for the second group game, against Luxembourg on the 27th, after which it will travel to Hungary for the reorganised friendly against Qatar.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times