DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Sunday, October 11, 2020: Republic of Ireland's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Nations League Group Stage League B Group 4 match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Caoimhin Kelleher in line for Ireland debut after recovery from injury

Caoimhin Kelleher is set to make his international debut for the Republic of Ireland after being named in Stephen Kenny’s 29-man squad for the March international break.

There were doubts over Kelleher’s ability to feature for his country after sustaining a stomach muscle tear which has ruled him out of the last eight of Liverpool’s nine games.

But having been given the green light to return, Kelleher is in line to slot between the sticks after more than six weeks on the sidelines as Ireland are without their usual shot-stopper.

Kenny’s side have three World Cup qualifiers to contest against Serbia, Luxembourg and Qatar in March but will be without their regular No. 1 in Darren Randolph due to hip and thigh issues.

And while it had likely been touch and go, Kelleher has been named in the squad and is expected to get the nod over Rochdale’s Gavin Bazunu, who is on loan from Man City.

The 22-year-old has risen up the ranks with his country and after finding himself elevated to Liverpool’s second-choice ‘keeper, his season is now set to get that little bit sweeter.

Kelleher has five appearances to his name for the Reds this season, which manager Kenny described as “first-class” in what was a clear show of faith from the manager who also saw his development with Ireland’s under-21s.

It is a timely step up for the Cork native after biding his time on the bench for the last year, and he will no doubt be eager to impress and stake a claim to be a more permanent fixture for his country.

And should no reaction on his return from injury be noted, it will prove a welcome return to the fold on his arrival back at Liverpool for the final stretch of the season.