By Ryan Kelly
When Giovanni Trapattoni announced his squad for the summer internationals against England, Spain, Georgia and Faroe Islands this summer, there was little expectation that there would be representation from the Airtricity League. However, the fact remains that it is Ireland's national league and it is one which is full of dedicated and talented footballers.
With the British season ending in the coming weeks, the friendly fixtures could have provided an excellent opportunity for the Ireland boss to give recognition to the Premier Division's top stars. Here, Goal.com takes a look at five players that Giovanni Trapattoni could have included in his squad.
The 2012 PFAI Young Player of the Year nominee's energetic performances were a stand-out feature of Sligo Rovers' title-winning campaign and the 21-year-old has carried that form into this season where he has been a permanent fixture in Ian Baraclough's side.
Cawley's industrious style of play has alerted Ireland under-21 manager Noel King, who has already placed the midfielder on stand-by for several squads. The Ballina native is an all-action midfielder and with four goals in 16 games this season, he has shown that he is also capable in attack.
Ronan Finn has been utterly sensational for Shamrock Rovers this season and was an integral part of the Hoops' Setanta Sports Cup success, contributing immensely to the unravelling of Drogheda United in the final.
The 25-year-old is most comfortable as an attacking midfielder, where he has featured prominently this season, scoring seven goals in 18 appearances thus far. Finn's intelligence and trickery would make him an ideal candidate to play behind the striker.
Former Celtic and Hibernian midfielder Richie Towell has been a regular at youth international level for the Boys in Green and could potentially have a role to play at senior level.
A dynamic central midfielder, Towell possesses an abundance of technique, but is also adept in a defensive capacity. In addition, the 21-year-old's versatility is such that he is comfortable deputising at full back.
His performances for Dundalk this season have been crucial in helping the Lilywhites to perform above expectations and compete at the top end of the Airtricity Premier Division.
St Patrick's Athletic midfielder Christopher Forrester was named the PFAI Young Player of the Year for his dazzling displays in 2012 and a continuation of that form has seen him earn international recognition this season, where he has picked up two under-21 caps for Noel King's side.
The 20-year-old may lack in experience but his undoubted skill means that he is a useful attacking midfielder, capable of playing on either flank as well as through the middle. Forrester has been central to the Saints' climb up the Airtricity Premier Division this season and he is currently joint-top goalscorer for the club.
Another player to be placed on stand-by for Noel King's under-21 squad this year, Cork City's Daryl Horgan would be a refreshing option on the wing for Ireland. The 20-year-old Galway native has been a bright spark for the Leesiders since joining the club in 2011 and pace is an asset.
A former Ireland under-19 international, Horgan would have stiff competition on the wing with James McClean, Robbie Brady as well as Aiden McGeady and Anthony Pilkington ahead of him in the pecking order, but he would provide able back-up.
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