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O'Brien joy at Irish U-21 call

DERBY COUNTY star Mark O'Brien believes that a call-up to the Ireland U21 side for next week's friendly with Holland in Dublin is a career highlight.

The Dubliner has battled a career-threatening knee injury and serious heart condition to regain fitness and establish himself in the Rams first team, and says he can't wait for the U21 tie.

"I have had my knee injury and my heart problems and the gaffer and the coaching staff have stuck by me, so I have a lot to thank them for," he says.

"And now I have received an Under-21 call-up, which certainly comes close to one of the proudest moments in my career, simply because it has been a long time since my last, due to injury.

"It has been a long road, but I have come back from the injuries and operations, and now I am back fit. But there is not a chance that I will take my foot off the pedal."