Colm Whelan in action for UCD. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Kilkenny's Colm Whelan has earned a maiden call up to the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad.
The former Thomastown United underage star has been lighting up the First Division in the League of Ireland over recent outings with his club UCD where he is the league's top scorer and as such has been rewarded for his fine run of form.
The youngster came to prominence when he was named on the First Division team of the year at the end of 2020 and after appearing on numerous Irish underage international squads, this is the next big step in his career.
Ireland boss Jim Crawford has also named fellow League of Ireland players in the squad with Bohemians duo Andy Lyons and Dawson Devoy getting the call as well as Bray Wanderers golakeeper Brian Maher.
The Irish team will take on Switzerland, Australia and Denmark in friendlies in Marbella over the next few weeks.
The games will form part of the U21s preparation for their 2023 European Championship qualifiers against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Luxembourg in September.
Republic of Ireland U21 squad
Goalkeepers: Sam Blair (Norwich City), Brian Maher (Bray Wanderers),
Dan Rose (Schalke 04)
Defenders: Ciaran Brennan (Sheffield Wednesday), Festy Ebosele (Derby County), Shane Flynn (Leicester City), Andy Lyons (Bohemians), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness (Arsenal), Lewis Richards (Wolves), Sean Roughan (Lincoln City).
Midfielders: John Joe Patrick Finn Benoa (Getafe), Luca Connell (Celtic), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Dawson Devoy (Bohemians), Alex Gilbert (Brentford), Conor Grant (Rochdale), Ryan Johansson (Sevilla), Conor Noss (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Louie Watson (Derby County).
Forwards: Jonathan Afolabi (Celtic), Will Ferry (Southampton), Joshua ‘JJ’ Kayode (Rotherham United), Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth), Colm Whelan (UCD), Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa).
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