DARREN O'DEA was today rewarded for his Co-op Cup final heroics with a call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifier double header against Bulgaria and Italy.

The 22-year-old Celtic defender is joined in the 26-man pool by Celtic Park team-mate Aiden McGeady, who also netted in yesterday's final against Rangers.

O'Dea - the only addition to the squad from last month's win over Georgia - was captain of the Irish Under-21 side, but is still hoping to earn his first full cap.

Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni has already indicated he believes the youngster has a big future at international level. But, up until now, his lack of first-team appearances for Celtic this season has prevented Trapattoni selecting him.

But, after playing in the Hoops' last four matches, O'Dea has quickly been promoted into the squad for the crunch games on March 28 against Bulgaria and Italy on April 1.

The full squad is: Shay Given (Manchester City), Dean Kiely (West Brom), Kieren Westwood (Coventry); Alex Bruce (Ipswich), Damien Delaney (QPR), John O'Shea (Manchester United), Kevin Foley (Wolves), Paul McShane (Sunderland), Richard Dunne (Manchester City), Stephen Kelly (Birmingham), Steve Finnan (Espanyol), Kevin Kilbane (Hull), Darren O'Dea (Celtic); Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Damien Duff (Newcastle), Darron Gibson (Manchester United), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (Blackburn), Liam Miller (QPR), Stephen Hunt (Reading), Andy Keogh (Wolves); Caleb Folan (Hull), Kevin Doyle (Reading), Robbie Keane (Tottenham), Shane Long (Reading), Noel Hunt (Reading).