Only one Eircom league player named on youth squad

IRISH youth team manager Gerry Smith has announced the squad of 20 Irish players who will travel to the United Arab Emirates next month for the Under 20 World Youth Championship finals.

New manager Smith picked the squad after consulting former youth-team boss and current senior Ireland manager Brian Kerr.

The squad includes just one Eircom League player, Eamonn Zayed of Bray Wanderers. Also in the squad is Sean Thornton, who has made a major impact on the Sunderland first team this season and Jonathon Daly who is a regular first teamer with Stockport County.

Manchester City are well represented, with six players in the planel, including Willo Flood an exciting talent who is actually two years younger than this particular age level and will make his Under 20 debut at the Championships.

Ireland have been drawn with Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast and Mexico in their group, and Smith's main aim is to progress past the group stage. "By hook or by crook we'll get out of the group and then see what happens," he said.

The team will play their final warm up game in Ireland before they depart on St Patrick's Day. That match is against African Champions Egypt on March 15, at a venue yet to be decided.

Ireland Under-20 squad:

Murphy (Manchester City), Henderson (Aston Villa), Brennan (Newcastle United), Rossiter (Sunderland), Capper (Sunderland), Paisley (Manchester City), McCarthy (Manchester City), Kelly (Tottenham), Fitzgerald (Blackburn Rovers), Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Foley (Liverpool), Thornton (Sunderland), Potter (Liverpool), Whelan (Manchester City), Flood (Manchester City), Deane (Charlton Athletic), Kearney (Nottingham Forest), Daly (Stockport County), Elliott (Manchester City), Zayed (Bray Wanderers).

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