Key Portsmouth League One title winner a surprise omission as international squad announced

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The defensive star was a regular in John Mousinho’s League One winning side

Pompey star Conor Shaughnessy has missed out on Republic of Ireland selection, despite his defensive heroics helping the Blues lift the League One title this season.

Shaughnessy, 27, arrived at Fratton Park on a free transfer from Burton Albion in the summer of 2023. Many expected John Mousinho to use the centre-back as a rotation option, but he quickly became a firm fixture in the starting XI, ending the triumphant campaign as one of the squad’s most consistent performers.

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The Irishman also scored the 89th-minute winner in Pompey’s 3-2 victory over Barnsley which confirmed their League One title and promotion to the EFL Championship.

Shaughnessy ranks second on Pompey’s ratings, scoring 7.09 from his 45 league appearances this season, making 4.3 clearances per game and securing 1.2 interceptions as well. However, these fine numbers weren’t enough to earn a call-up from Republic of Ireland interim head coach John O’Shea, who has named the squad that will take on Hungary and Portugal on June 4 and June 11 respectively.

Born in Galway, the centre-back has represented his country of birth at all international youth levels, but is yet to earn a senior call-up. Following such an impressive campaign, in which he came third in The News’ Player of the Year vote, many would have expected this to be the perfect opportunity for Shaughnessy to win the senior cap.

Shaughnessy was also named in the EFL League One Team of the Year for 2023/24 along with fellow Blues stars Marlon Pack and Colby Bishop. While he is primarily on a two-year contract, there is an option of a third year. If his 2024/25 campaign is anything like the impressive efforts of this season, he could well remain at Fratton Park into the 2025/26 season too.

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Making up Ireland’s defenders for the upcoming friendlies are Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty, Shane Duffy, Dara O’Shea, Jake O’Brien, Andrew Omobamidele, Liam Scales, Robbie Brady and Enda Stevens. On the X (formerly Twitter) post which detailed the squad, one evidently bemused fan commented: “How have you not called up Conor Shaughnessy?!”

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