John Egan has been named as Republic of Ireland captain for tonight’s friendly match against Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.
The Sheffield United central defender will earn his third cap while fellow Corkonian Conor Hourihane will fill-in at left-back with Ireland manager Mick McCarthy believing the Aston Villa player – who usually plays in central midfield – has the attributes to adapt to the role.
Ireland have a vacancy in the position for next month’s UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier in Georgia as Enda Stevens will miss out due to suspension, having picked up a third yellow card of the qualifying campaign in the 1-1 draw against Switzerland last Thursday.
John Egan’s late father was Kerry GAA legend John Egan Senior, who won six All-Ireland senior football titles during his time as a player with the Kingdom.
Egan Junior was raised in Cork city where he grew up in Bishopstown as his father was based in Cork city as a garda, and he spoke at a press conference last week about his split GAA loyalties between the county he was raised in (he supports Cork in hurling) and that of his father (he supports Kerry in gaelic football).
He attended the drawn All-Ireland senior football final between Dublin and Kerry on September 1st, with Cork coincidentally winning the All-Ireland minor football final the same afternoon at the same venue (Croke Park).
That was the day after he had played for Sheffield United against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where the Blades earned an excellent 2-2 draw having been 2-0 down at half-time to the five-time Premier League winners and reigning Europa League champions. Sheffield United – with four senior Republic of Ireland internationals, including Egan in their first team – now have five points from four Premier League games this season and are 10th in the Premier League table having started the season much better than most would have predicted.