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Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

O'Dea called up to Republic squad

Darren O'Dea
Darren O'Dea has yet to win his first senior cap for the Republic of Ireland

Celtic defender Darren O'Dea has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Italy.

The 22-year-old scored the first goal in his side's Co-operative Insurance Cup final win over Rangers on Sunday.

O'Dea, who is uncapped, is the only addition to the squad named by manager Giovanni Trapattoni for last month's 2-1 victory over Georgia.

Stephen Ireland's international exile continues despite his good recent form.

The Manchester City midfielder has not played for his country since 2007 after admitting lying to then-coach Steve Staunton about both his grandmothers dying in order to skip a European Championship qualifier.

Bulgaria, which has drawn all three of its Group Eight matches, is first up for the Republic on 28 March, followed by a trip to Italy four days later.

Trapattoni's side are level with Italy at the top of the Group Eight standings with 10 points each.

"I have no doubt they will be invigorated by the appointment of their new manager, Stanimir Stoilov, and they will come to Croke Park looking for a win to kick-start their World Cup qualifying campaign," said Trapattoni.

"This game represents a real opportunity to open up a significant gap at the top of the table in Group Eight.

"For the next six months we will be playing away so strong support in this last home game until October will be vital.

"Every point gained will be valuable in the race to qualify for South Africa."

Republic of Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers - Given (Man City), Kiely (West Brom), Westwood (Coventry)

Defenders - Bruce (Ipswich), Delaney (Queen's Park Rangers), O'Shea (Manchester Utd), Foley (Wolves), McShane (Sunderland), Dunne (Manchester City), Kelly (Birmingham City), Finnan (Espanyol), Kilbane (Hull), O'Dea (Celtic).

Midfielders - McGeady (Celtic), Duff (Newcastle), Gibson (Manchester Utd), Whelan (Stoke), Andrews (Blackburn), Miller (Queen's Park Rangers), Hunt (Reading), Keogh (Wolves).

Strikers - Folan (Hull), Doyle (Reading), Keane (Tottenham), Long (Reading), Hunt (Reading).

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see also
Keane accepts luck was with Irish
11 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Georgia
11 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Ireland remains out for Republic
19 Jan 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals

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