West Ham defender looking forward to homecoming trip

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West Ham United defender Joey O'Brien is looking forward to returning to his homeland when the club travel to Ireland for their pre-season tour.

The Ireland international was born in Dublin before moving to England to sign for Bolton Wanderers at the age of 16.

The 27-year old is relishing the chance to visit Ireland during their pre-season, something he's never done before.

"It should be good," he told the club's official website. 

"I've never been on a pre-season tour to Ireland before since I came over to England when I was 16, so it should be something different from normal when we have been to places that are really, really hot. I don't think the west coast of Ireland will be really hot!

"We're going to play Cork City while we're over there, so it should be good to play a League of Ireland team."

When O'Brien, who has made five appearances for the senior Irish national team, began playing in England he often returned to Ireland to play for his country for several age groups. He remember facing England during their under 19 friendly at Cork City's Turner Cross ground.

The defender, who joined Upton Park in 2011, recalls the atmosphere that night and hopes it will be similar for their friendly against Cork City.

"I know people from that part of the world and they are a very, very patriotic bunch and it made for a great night.

"I'm sure that game when we play them in pre-season will also attract a good crowd to Turners Cross."

"Without a doubt, I'm sure the fans there are looking forward to a Premier League team coming over and they'll come out and support them.

"It's a lovely pitch there normally and the ground is nice and tight and the crowd is right on top of you, so hopefully there should be a decent crowd and it should be a decent game."

West Ham will face Cork City on July 7 before a trip to Germany to play German sides FSV Mainz 05, Hamburger SV and Eintracht Braunschweig.

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West Ham United
Joey O'Brien
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