Ireland U-21 team boss Jim Crawford has called up senior internationals Lee O'Connor and Michael Obafemi for a training camp, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.
A proposed friendly away to Slovenia next week has been called off due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19 so Crawford, Stephen Kenny's successor at U-21 level, will head straight into qualification battle with games in October and he will use a training camp in Northern Ireland next week to prepare.
Defender O'Connor, on loan to Tranmere from Celtic, and striker Obafemi are due to report for duty, Obafemi using social media earlier this week to express his surprise at his omission from Kenny's senior squad. Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher is also named in the squad for the training camp.
Home-based players Darragh Leahy (Dundalk), Danny Mandroiu and Danny Grant (Bohemians), Liam Scales and Neil Farrugia (Shamrock Rovers), Luke McNally (St Patrick's Athletic) and Ed McGinty (Sligo Rovers) are called up.
Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Rochdale, on loan from Manchester City), Ed McGinty (Sligo Rovers).
Defenders: Lee O'Connor (Tranmere Rovers, on loan from Celtic), Danny McNamara (St. Johnstone, on loan from Millwall), Darragh Leahy (Dundalk), Conor Masterson (QPR), Liam Scales (Shamrock Rovers), Luke McNally (St. Patrick's Athletic), Nathan Collins (Stoke City), Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Thomas O'Connor (Southampton).
Midfielders: Dan Mandroiu (Bohemians), Jason Knight (Derby County), Jack Taylor (Peterborough United), Will Ferry (Southampton), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Connor Ronan (Grasshoppers Zurich, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Attackers: Michael Obafemi (Southampton), Danny Grant (Bohemians), Jonathan Afolabi (Celtic), Zach Elbouzedi (Lincoln City), Neil Farrugia (Shamrock Rovers), Ryan Cassidy (Watford).