Under-21 internationals Jayson Molumby and Adam Idah have been promoted for the first time to the senior set up by Stephen Kenny who has announced his squad for next week's Nations League games against Bulgaria and Finland.
One man not selected in the 23-man squad is Southampton striker Michael Obafemi, and the 20-year-old responded on Monday by tweeting ‘intresting’. The attacker made 25 appearances this season and scored three Premier League goals including a late equaliser against Manchester United.
When asked about Obafemi’s tweet, Kenny said: “Listen Michael is a great lad. I think he’s been playing in a front two a lot, he’s still learning the position playing wider. That’s something he’s still coming to terms with. He’s in a much better physical condition at the moment, Michael has a very good future ahead of himself.
“I hope he goes into the Under-21 squad and does well now at that level and hopefully gets into the Southampton team. The manager at Southampton Ralph Hassenhuttl has been brilliant for him. I do hope, Michael, you know didn’t make this squad, but squads are evolving and changing.
“We do play with one lone central striker and he’s not played that role that much because his team play with a two. It is different position. He has played wide with Southampton on occasion, he’s still learning that one. I see him as a striker and he’s someone who hopefully has a big future with Ireland.
Kenny went on to say he hadn’t explained his decision to the 20-year-old, but said: “He hasn’t been in any of the previous squads in the last campaign. I spoke to all the players who were in the squad in the last campaign, even those who were omitted from the last few squads. But Michael wasn’t in any of them. Michael has to go into the Under-21s and do well at that level.”
Meanwhile Molumby, a midfielder who was a key member of Kenny’s Under-21 sides over the past year and a half, gets the call-up off the back of a really strong season in the Championship with Millwall where he was on loan from Brighton.
The 21-year-old from Waterford made 40 appearances for the London club over the course of the campaign and did more than enough to suggest he has the potential to move on up to a higher level.
Idah, a striker from Cork, played 16 times for Norwich, 12 of the appearances coming in the top flight, and scored a hat trick in the FA Cup against Preston back in January.
Troy Parrott, the young Tottenham striker who made his senior international debut last year and who will himself be on loan at Millwall for the coming season, is another of the players who has featured for Kenny before to be included.
James McCarthy and Harry Arter, meanwhile, are both included in the squad after absences under Mick McCarthy and Shane Long also features in the group which is due to meet up next Sunday in Dublin before travelling to Sofia on the Tuesday.
David McGoldrick, a key player under McCarthy and someone Kenny has repeatedly identified as having a major role to play in his teams, will miss the away game but is expected to join up with the squad ahead of the visit of Finland on Sunday week.
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Kieran O'Hara (unattached)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers).
Midfielders: James McCarthy (Crystal Palace), Harry Arter (Fulham), Jeff Hendrick (unattached), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Jayson Molumby (Brighton and Hove Albion), Robbie Brady (Burnley).
Forwards: Callum Robinson (Sheffield United), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Aaron Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur - on loan at Millwall), Shane Long (Southampton).