McCaffrey gears up for Slovak tests

REPUBLIC of Ireland U-19 manager Sean McCaffrey has named an 18-man squad for next week’s friendlies against Slovakia in Bratislava — their final preparatory games before the UEFA Championship Elite phase qualifiers in June.

McCaffrey admitted: “We are getting closer to the UEFA Elite qualifiers and it’s important that we start focussing on those matches in June. Therefore, these two games are crucial as it gives us the opportunity to get the balance of the team right.

“At this stage of the season, we probably know our best team but there is a chance for players to impress and enhance their prospects of inclusion in the squad for the qualifiers.”

Newcastle United defender Callum Morris has overcome the injury which kept him out of the first phase qualifiers in November and is recalled, while Barnsley forward Jamil Adam has received his first call-up.

“Terry Conroy, who is the FAI’s welfare officer in Britain, brought Jamil Adam to our attention,” explained McCafferty. “He qualifies through parentage and was keen to represent Ireland. He is a player that can play on the wing or just off the main striker, so he could give us something different attack.”

Tuesday, March 31: Republic of Ireland v Slovakia, Bratislava, Slovakia, 3.30pm.

Thursday, April 2: Republic of Ireland v Slovakia, Bratislava, Slovakia, 11am.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U-19 Squad: H Lee, (Charlton Athletic), K Thorpe, (Crystal Palace), L Oyebanjo, (Histon), M Connolly, (Wolverhampton Wanderers), D Kelly, (Norwich City), R Kiernan, (Watford), G Gunning, (Blackburn Rovers), D McCrory, (Plymouth Argyle), G Cunningham, (Manchester City), C Clifford, (Chelsea), G Morrissey, (Blackburn Rovers), R Towell, (Celtic), A Doran, (Blackburn Rovers), R Brady, (Manchester United), J Adam, (Barnsley), J Mason, (Plymouth Argyle), C Morris, (Newcastle Utd), R Murray, (Ipswich Town).

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