Irish call for PNE trio
Three Preston North End players have been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the games against Wales and Iceland.
Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Aiden McGeady made a 39-man provisional squad but there was no room for Greg Cunningham or Alan Browne.
The Irish play Wales in a World Cup qualifier on March 24 at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and face Iceland four days later in a friendly.
McGeady has 86 caps and his form for PNE of late made him an obvious choice for the squad.
For Horgan and Boyle, it is a second call-up.
They made the squad for the Republic’s game against Austria in October while with League of Ireland champions Dundalk.
Neither made the bench for that game but their form since – for Dundalk and more recently Preston – has merited another chance.
Roy Keane, No.2 to ROI manager Martin O’Neill, has twice watched North End in action in recent weeks.
Steve Guppy, who is also on O’Neill’s staff, watched the win over Brentford last month.
Horgan quickly forced his way into the PNE squad after arriving in January.
The winger has made eight starts and three appearances from the bench, scoring twice.
He was on target in PNE’s 3-0 win over Reading at the weekend.
Centre-half Boyle has had to be more patient, his debut only coming in last Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Derby.
He then played against Reading, setting up the third goal for Tom Barkhuizen.
Boyle impressed in both games, looking solid next to Paul Huntington in the centre of defence.
Ireland boss O’Neill will trim the squad for the Wales game next week but those who don’t make the cut will be retained and in the frame for the Iceland friendly.
The Irish squad will report for duty on Sunday night.
The Irish are currently top of their group with six more qualifiers to play.
Another omission from the squad for |Cunningham is a blow for the North End left-back.
Capped four times earlier in his career, the 26-year-old has been in fine form for the last two seasons since joining PNE from Bristol City.
He has been a picture of consistency, making 84 starts in Preston colours.
Team-mate Browne will have been hoping for a senior call too, the midfielder having come to the end of his time with the Under-21s.