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Quirke and Barton Land U-21 calls

Ireland Under-21s boss Noel King has handed first call-ups to Coventry keeper Michael Quirke and Preston midfielder Adam Barton.

The pair are included in a 17-man squad for next Friday's friendly clash with Portugal in Agueda.

There is a place too for Arsenal midfielder Conor Henderson, who was handed a senior debut for the Gunners in their FA Cup fifth round replay with Leyton Orient earlier this last month.

King said: "This friendly against Portugal is a key element to our preparation for the European Championships, which begin on September 1 at home to Hungary in Sligo.

"We have made a number of changes to the squad, purely to look at as many of our players as possible ahead of the campaign.

"While we would like to bring every player into the squad, it is not possible and just because there are a number of key players not included in this group, it does not mean we are not still looking at them.

"Portugal are a talented side and include players such as Manchester United star Bebe, and their recent 3-1 victory over Sweden proves that they will be a big test for us.

"After the Portugal match, we have one remaining friendly against Austria in August, which means that we will have to take every available opportunity to fine-tune our preparation ahead of the European Championship qualifiers."

Squad: Ian McLoughlin (Stockport), Michael Quirke (Coventry), Richie Towell (Hibernian), Shane Duffy (Everton), Gavin Gunning (Motherwell), Shane O'Connor (Ipswich), Rob Kiernan (Wycombe), Damian McCrory (Dagenham & Redbridge), Adam Barton (Preston), Mark Connolly (Bolton), Conor Henderson (Arsenal), Jamie Devitt (Hull), Sean Scannell (Crystal Palace), Conor Clifford (Chelsea), James Collins (Shrewsbury), Joe Mason (Plymouth), Paddy Madden (Carlisle).

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