Hearts defender misses out on Republic of Ireland cut

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Hearts defender Jimmy Dunne has suffered his second set-back within a matter of days after being dropped from Martin O’Neill’s provisional Republic of Ireland squad.

The on loan Burnley centre-half, who has been in outstanding form since being recruited as a replacement for injured captain Christophe Berra in August, was initially included in the 36-man list for the double header against Northern Ireland and Denmark.

Former Celtic manager O’Neill even admitted that interest from their northern neighbours was part of the reason he selected the 21-year-old, with Dunne having met Northern Ireland boss Martin O’Neill for face-to-face talks in Edinburgh.

O’Neill said: “It would be ridiculous of me to say that wouldn’t be a part of that.

“I spoke to young Dunne, he was delighted with the call and I think he genuinely wants to play for us and that’s important.”

However, Dunne, who was unable to help stop Kilmarnock from condemning Hearts to a third Premiership loss of the season on Saturday, was one of seven players cut from the squad on Monday.

There was good news for versatile midfielder Bobby Burns, who is currently on loan at Livingston, after the 19-year-old earned his maiden call-up to the Northern Ireland squad.

Burns made his fifth appearance for the Lions in Sunday’s draw with Celtic, a result that saw Hearts being ousted from the league summit on goal difference by the Bhoys for the first time this season.

The former Glenavon player has joined Hearts team-mates Michael Smith and Aaron Hughes in the squad for matches against Ireland and Israel.

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