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Shelbourne man Connolly gets U21 call-up from King

SHELBOURNE prospect Dylan Connolly has been drafted into the Ireland U21 squad for two friendly games.

Noel King takes his U21 side to Spain for friendly matches against the USA (tomorrow) and Russia (Monday), as build-up to the next European Championship qualifying campaign which starts next year. But he's been forced to make changes before the squad departed as Ian Lawlor (Manchester City), Sean Kavanagh (Fulham) and Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn) have all withdrawn.

So Eric Grimes (Leeds United), Liam Kelly (Reading) and winger Connolly (Shels) have all been handed call-ups.

"It's unfortunate for the players who have had to drop out but it gives an opportunity to the players who've come in to show what they can do," said King.

"These games are going to be excellent tests for the squad as we continue to build towards the next qualifying campaign."

Connolly has been capped at U19 level but this is his first summons to the U21 squad which also included home-based players Seán Hoare and Lee Desmond, the latter a recent signing for St Pats from Shels.


Connolly was the leading scorer for Shels last season with 12 league goals and he is being tracked by cross-channel and League of Ireland clubs. Also included is Waterford lad Kenneth McEvoy, who scored once in his eight appearances on loan to League One side Peterborough United after a loan switch from Tottenham, though Spurs last week recalled McEvoy and he could now try to force his way into the first team at White Hart Lane.