NEWPORT County AFC top scorer Padraig Amond has been called up to the provisional Republic of Ireland squad for their upcoming European Qualifying matches against Gibraltar and Georgia.

The 30-year-old striker has scored 21 times so far this season, including goals against Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Manchester City in the FA Cup.

Born in Carlow, Amond has made more than 500 career appearances and previously featured for his country four times at under-21 level.

He told iFollow Exiles: “I'm so delighted to have received my first call up. This is the proudest moment of my career so far.

“There is no bigger honour than getting the chance to represent your country, so I am delighted to have that opportunity.”

Exiles boss Michael Flynn said: “It's excellent news about Padraig, he has earned this call up through being so professional and playing the best football of his career so far this season.

“He has shown that every footballer out there should never give up on your dreams.

“Mick McCarthy is a fantastic football manager and it will be great experience for Padraig to go away with Ireland.

“The honour of being called up to the provisional squad will be one of the proudest moments of his and his family’s life."

South Wales Argus:

If selected for the final squad, Amond will be eligible for next Friday's match against Cheltenham Town at Rodney Parade before departing to join up with the Irish squad on Sunday, March 17 – St Patrick’s Day.

He would miss the home game with Paul Scholes’ Oldham Athletic on March 23 as the first of the European qualifiers is away in Gibraltar on the same day with the second against Georgia on March 26 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

If he does get onto the pitch in either match, Amond will become only the second player to win a senior cap while at County since Nigel Vaughan and Steve Lowndes both played for Wales in a friendly against Brazil in June 1983.

Calaum Jahraldo-Martin, who left the Exiles last summer, turned out for Antigua & Barbuda against Bermuda and Jamaica in March 2018.

Republic of Ireland provisional squad…

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Kieran O'Hara (Macclesfield Town*), Mark Travers (Bournemouth). 

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Richard Keogh (Derby County), John Egan (Sheffield United), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Kevin Long (Burnley), Jimmy Dunne (Sunderland*), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen Ward (Burnley).

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Harry Arter (Cardiff City*), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), David Meyler (Coventry City*), Shaun Williams (Millwall), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Daryl Horgan (Hibernian).

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Scott Hogan (Sheffield United*), Aiden O'Brien (Millwall), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton Town), Padraig Amond (Newport County)