Shamrock Rovers players Poom and Pico picked for senior international duty
Shamrock Rovers’ Markus Poom and Pico Lopes have both been called up for their respective nations for upcoming senior international matches.
Poom will be part of the Estonian squad for their Euro qualifiers against Azerbaijan in Baku on 17 June and their match with Belgium that they will host on 20 June. The midfielder, who is on loan from Flora Tallinn, has played 15 internationals for the Sinisärgid (or Blueshirts).
Meanwhile Pico Lopes is part of the Cape Verde squad who will play World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in a friendly in Rabat on 12 June before their African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against Burkina Faso on 18 June.
The Blue Sharks are well placed to earn themselves a spot in the AFCON that will take place in Ivory Coast early in the new year. Last time out in the African Cup of Nations, Lopes played his part in helping Cape Verde qualifying for the last 16 (where they were eliminated by eventual champions Senegal).
The Estonia and Cape Verde games will take place during the mid-season break/international window which starts after Rovers game at home against UCD the Friday (9 June) and their game away to Bohs (23 June).
Both Hoops players spoke about their international careers recently to this author for Hoops Scene – Shamrock Rovers’ match programme.
“That Morocco game will be be a good test,” said 30-year-old Lopes who had been capped 17 times at international level.
“There is a strong chance that a point against Burkino Faso will see us through. We only need a point from our last two games if Togo or Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) don't win their two games.”
Poom was injured during the last international window but gets recalled for these upcoming games.
It means the 24-year-old midfielder will link up with his Dad who is part of the coaching team with Estonia – his father is Mart Poom who was a goalkeeper who played in the Premier League with Derby County.
“Playing for your national team is always an honour and any chance you get you do want to join them,” said Poom.
“Right now we have a really good national team with a lot of good young players and also guys who have a lot of experience. Estonia is a team on the way up and I really feel that we are improving year-on-year.”
Shamrock Rovers striker Johnny Kenny, who is on loan from Celtic, has been named in the Ireland under-21 squad but speaking in the Sligo Rovers match programme on Monday said he may be a doubt for the upcoming games in Austria.