Newcastle centre-back Andy O'Brien has been promoted from the Republic of Ireland's Under-21 squad to the senior squad for Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Estonia. Mick McCarthy has decided to draft in O'Brien because both Kenny Cunningham and Gary Breen are injured and have not travelled with the rest of the squad to Talinn. McCarthy was forced into selecting the emergency central partnership of Richard Dunne and Steve Staunton for last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Portugal and O'Brien is expected to be named among the substitutes as cover for these more experienced players.
As a result of O'Brien's promotion, Under-21 boss Don Givens will award the captaincy for tomorrow night's game against Estonia in the European Championship qualifiers to Celtic midfielder Colin Healy as regular captain Barry Quinn is suspended for the game. Givens will not name his team until tomorrow as Arsenal striker Graham Barrett and Leicester midfielder Damien Delaney both face late fitness tests.
Givens' team beat Estonia 1-0 at Kilkenny's Buckley Park last October thanks to a Barry Quinn penalty but Friday's 1-0 defeat to the Portuguese has effectively ended the Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the finals.
Filed by Amanda Fennelly