PNE's Alan Browne hits first goal for Ireland
Preston's player of the year Alan Browne added a goal for the Republic of Ireland to his long list of achievements in a fine 2017/18 campaign.
The midfielder found the net in yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Celtic, that Browne’s first goal for his country.
He played the full game which was a testimonial for Celtic midfielder Scott Brown but needed only three minutes to get on the scoresheet.
Browne fired home with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box to give Martin O’Neill’s men the lead.
After being voted player of the year at Deepdale by both the PNE supporters and his team-mates, and also winning goal of the season, the goal was another feather in his cap.
The 23-year-old was one of four North End players to play a part in the testimonial.
Sean Maguire played the full game, Greg Cunningham and Callum Robinson joining the action after an hour.
Robinson played up front with Maguire, the game his first for the Emerald Isle.
It was a big step towards him playing international football for the Republic of Ireland who he qualifies for through his late grandma.
Robinson cannot yet play in full international matches as clearance on his paperwork hasn’t come through.
For Cunningham, it was his first appearance for Ireland since 2013.
The left-back had been named in three squads in the last 12 months, only for injury to rule him out of them all.
The Republic now go on to play friendlies against France in Paris next Monday and the United States at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on June 2.
A 40-man squad had been named for the games against Celtic, France and the USA.
That will now be trimmed down for the remaining two games.
Daryl Horgan was the one Preston player named in the initial squad who didn’t play yesterday.
Browne, Cunningham and Maguire are among a group of Preston players who will have contract talks in the coming weeks.
North End are looking to get a number of the squad who have one or two years left on their current deals to sign new contracts.
Browne and Maguire have two years remaining on deals signed last summer.
Cunningham only has 12 months remaining and the clock is starting to tick.
Last summer he attracted the interest of Cardiff City, with North End turning down a bid from the Welsh club.
He then suffered a serious hamstring injury early in the campaign which kept him out until Christmas.
Paul Huntington, Darnell Fisher, club skipper Tom Clarke and Daniel Johnson are also set to be offered new terms.