Noel Hunt, in a rich vein of scoring form for Championship chasers Reading, has been incredibly overlooked by Giovanni Trapattoni for next week’s Croke Park friendly against Poland in favour of his clubmate Shane Long.

The 23-man squad includes five forwards: Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle, Anthony Stokes, Caleb Folan and Tipperary native Long, who is being kept out of the Royals’ side by Hunt’s superb start to the season, which has seen the John’s Park man instantly form a terrific partnership with 13-goal Doyle.

Despite scoring 18 times for Dundee United in the SPL last season, the former Johnville striker was repeatedly ignored by Steve Staunton – something his older brother Stephen took issue with, particularly after an American college player was capped on last year’s US tour.

“It’s baffling to say the least,” says our soccer correspondent Matt Keane – as is the exclusion of midfielder Andy Reid; a situation that’s starting to look petty and personal.