Doolin names U-19 squad for UEFA qualifiers

Doolin names U-19 squad for UEFA qualifiers

Republic of Ireland Under-19 coach Paul Doolin has named his squad for the upcoming UEFA Under-19 Championship elite stage qualifiers in Poland from May 24-29.

Ireland qualified from the first phase last November and will take on mini-group hosts Poland as well as Italy and Ukraine over a six day period in the elite stage for the one available slot on offer for the finals to be held in Romania this July.

Following their opening game against Poland on Tuesday, May 24 in Koszalin (5pm), Ireland meet Ukraine two days later at the same venue before concluding against Italy in Kolobrzeg on Sunday May 29 (4pm).

Since progressing from the preliminary stage in Bulgaria, Doolin has broadened his options by staging double-header friendly matches away in Croatia and Cyprus.

That provided him with the platform to assess further talent than the group which served him so well in the first phase and he's settled on a squad of 18 for the competitive fixtures ahead.

"There were some difficult calls to make in choosing the squad but I feel I've got the balance right in this selection," said Doolin.

"Qualification from the group for the UEFA finals is the aim and our main priority is getting a result from a tough opening game against the host nation, Poland.

"Ukraine have a great record at Under-19 level and Italy are always a threat but I believe our squad have improved since the first phase qualifiers and they've adapted well to what I was looking for from them."

Robbie Brady, with experience of playing for Ireland in the elite phase last season, is included but his Manchester United colleague Sean McGinty misses out due to club commitments.

McGinty has been integral along United's route to the FA Youth Cup final and the second leg of their showdown with Sheffield United takes place at Old Trafford less than 24 hours before Ireland's first game against Poland.

There are plenty of players with first-team experience in the Ireland squad, notably Sean Murray of Watford who made his full debut for Watford at the age of 17 in last Saturday's English Championship match at Preston North End.

Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Declan Walker (Wrexham), Matt Doherty (Wolves) and Kane Ferdinand (Southend United) have also figured for their clubs cross-channel this season, as has Bray Wanderers striker Conor Murphy in the Airtricity League.

"Conor Murphy put himself into contention by playing and scoring in Croatia for us in February," explained Doolin.

"Since then, he's gained more experience at club level by playing regularly for Bray Wanderers enabling him to develop greatly."

Republic of Ireland Under-19 squad:

Sean McDermott (Arsenal)

Aaron McCarey (Wolves)

Declan Walker (Wrexham)

Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen)

Derrick Williams (Aston Villa)

Anthony O'Connor (Blackburn Rovers)

John Egan (Sunderland)

Matt Doherty (Wolves)

Kane Ferdinand (Southend United)

John O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers)

Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa)

Jeff Hendrick (Derby County)

Sean Murray (Watford)

Eoin Wearen (West Ham United)

Anthony Forde (Wolves)

Robert Brady (Manchester United)

Conor Murphy (Bray Wanderers)

Connor Smith (Watford).

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