PNE's Browne makes Republic of Ireland debut

Alan Browne.
Alan Browne.
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Alan Browne made his Republic of Ireland debut as Martin O’Neill’s men tasted defeat to Mexico out in America on Thursday night.

The Preston North End midfielder came on as a second-half substitute at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Lliywhites winger Daryl Horgan also having been handed his first start.

The third PNE representative in the squad, Andy Boyle, was an unused substitute.

Browne, drafted into the squad late as cover, played the final 17 minutes of the 3-1 reverse after replacing Derby County’s Cyrus Christie.

Horgan got 73 minutes, making way for Stephen Gleeson, the Birmingham City midfielder scoring a consolation goal moments later as an experimental Irish side were outclassed by the Mexicans.

Jesus Corona, Raul Jimenez and Carlos Vela got the Mexico goals in front of a crowd of 42,017.

A more experienced Irish side, likely to include former PNE loanee and summer transfer target Aiden McGeady, is set to face Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin this Sunday June 4 in the build-up to the World Cup qualifier with Austria on June 11.

The game against Mexico was the culmination of a training camp for players predominantly from Championship clubs.

It presented a chance for Browne on his first senior call-up having been capped 11 times at Under 21 level.

Horgan got the nod from the start against Mexico, one fine first-half pass catching the eye, having made his debut as a substitute against Iceland in March, Boyle also making his first senior international appearance that night.

"In terms of our preparation for the main game against Austria, I thought it was excellent,” O’Neill said.

“Mexico were very good, they were good on the ball as befits a side like that.

"I thought it was a great work-out, a great exercise for us."