Michael O'Neill calls four players into senior Northern Ireland squad after trio withdraw due to injury

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has been forced into late call-ups after Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Paddy Lane and Brad Lyons had to withdraw from the squad to take on Finland and Denmark due to injury.
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Goalkeeper Peacock-Farrell is ruled out with a knee injury and Lane and Lyons have calf injuries with all three returning to their respective clubs for treatment.

In their place come West Ham United’s Michael Forbes and Portsmouth’s Terry Devlin, both promoted from the U21 squad, while St Mirren midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce could be in line for his first senior cap after being called up following an impressive start to the season for Stephen Robinson’s side.

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Former Warrenpoint Town goalkeeper Stephen McMullan has also received a maiden senior call-up, replacing Peacock-Farrell.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. PIC: Liam McBurney/PA WireNorthern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. PIC: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. PIC: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Boyd-Munce, who now joins cousin and fellow Buddies teammate Conor McMenamin in the squad, started his career in the Irish League with Glentoran and has progressed through the Northern Ireland underage ranks.

He was previously called up for friendlies against Luxembourg and Hungary in March 2022 but didn’t make an appearance.

The 23-year-old has played 11 times in the Scottish Premiership for St Mirren this season with the Paisley outfit currently sitting third behind Celtic and Rangers.

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Elsewhere, Forbes moved from Dungannon Swifts to West Ham in 2020 and helped them win the FA Youth Cup for the first time in 24 years last season alongside countrymen Patrick Kelly and Callum Marshall.

Devlin swapped Glentoran for Portsmouth this summer after just one campaign at The Oval and scored his maiden goal in a recent 3-2 League One victory over Reading.

“Sadly, we weren’t able to get Bailey, Brad or Paddy on the grass in recent days so they return home with our best wishes,” said O’Neill. “Equally, it’s a great chance for Michael, Terry and Caolan to join the squad to make positive contribution.

“I am aware this affects Tommy Wright’s U21 squad but he, like all of us, recognise the amount of injuries we are dealing with and we hope they can return to play a part with his squad after the Denmark game on Monday.”

It follows Ross McCausland’s promotion into the squad for Northern Ireland’s UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying double-header, which gets underway in Helsinki on Friday evening.