Givens hit for six

REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 manager Don Givens has been forced to ring the changes after losing Anthony Stokes and five other players from his squad for the Madeira Cup tournament which kicks off at the end of the month.

Sunderland teenager Stokes, who made his senior debut when coming off the bench against San Marino, has been joined on the extensive absentee list by goalkeepers Darren Randolph and Shane Supple, plus midfielders Stephen Quinn, Darron Gibson and Owen Garvan.

The two ‘keepers have been replaced by Rene Gilmartin (Walsall) and James Russell (Chelsea). Crewe Alexandra’s Michael O’Connor also comes in, as do three eircom League players — James Chambers (Shelbourne), Ronan Finn (UCD) and Gary Curran (Sligo Rovers).

Ireland, holders of the Madeira Cup, defend their title on the island of the same name when they play Slovakia on February 27, Madeira on the 28th and Portugal on March 8.

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