Paul Doolin, the manager of the Irish U23s, is certainly relishing the challenge.
“It’s nearly hard to believe that the game is upon us because we’ve been looking forward to it for so long at this stage,” says the former Cork City boss. “I think it’s going to be a great game of football between two sides that will be going out to win the match.
“It’s the first match in the International Challenge Trophy for both teams, so we’ll both be looking to get off to a good start in order to qualify for the next round. The England team will be a decent side but I do believe that the squad that I’ve picked is good enough to get a positive result.
“But we know it’s going to be difficult. Games between Ireland and England in any sport are always competitive – it’s a bit of a derby game, in that sense. But it’s a game that our players are really up for and hopefully things will come right for us and we get the win.”
Shamrock Rovers’ Robert Duggan (shoulder) and Galway United’s Seamus Conneely (thigh) both trained yesterday and are expected to be fit, as is Sporting Fingal’s Waterford-born defender Kenny Browne (flu).
“Obviously it’s a game that means a lot to me personally so I’m really hoping that I’ll pull through and that I’ll be OK,” says the former Waterford United man. “Coming back to Waterford and playing in a green jersey is something that I’ve dreamt of but it’s just typical that I haven’t been sick in two years and before what will certainly be the biggest game of my career to date, this happens. The doctors are helping me though and I should be OK.
“It’s a massive game for all of us and it’s one that we as a squad are really looking forward to so hopefully there’ll be a massive crowd.”
Tickets for the match are priced €13 for adults and €4 for U16s and will be available at the RSC prior to kick-off.
Meanwhile Ireland’s U19 side face England in the UEFA U19 Championship Elite Stage Qualifiers in Kiev this afternoon.
REP. OF IRELAND U23 SQUAD: D Quigley, (Sporting Fingal), R Duggan, (Shamrock Rovers), S Conneely, (Galway Utd), S Mulcahy, (Cork City Foras Co-op), G Breen, (Dundalk), K Browne, (Sporting Fingal), C Powell, (Bohemians), L Fitzgerald (Sporting Fingal), R Finn, (Sporting Fingal), G Bolger, (UCD), J Chambers, (Shamrock Rovers), S O’Donnell, (Galway Utd), B Dennehy, (Shamrock Rovers), R Gaynor, (Dundalk), G McCabe, (Sligo Rovers), S Williams, (Sporting Fingal), P Byrne, (St. Pats), S Kelly, (Dundalk), P Amond, (Sligo Rovers), P Madden, (Bohemians).
REP. OF IRELAND U19 SQUAD: G Hanley, (Mervue Utd), I McLoughlin, (Ipswich Town), R Towell, (Celtic), J Dunleavy, (Wolves), A Boyle, (UCD), S McGinty, (Manchester Utd), S Timmins, (Birmingham City), S McEleney, (Derry City), C Clifford, (Chelsea), C Henderson, (Arsenal), C Hourihane, (Sunderland), D Kearns, (West Ham), J Keohane, (Wexford Youths), R Brady, (Manchester Utd), R Murray, (Ipswich Town), H Crawford, (Southend Utd), S McDonnell, (Dundalk), K Sheppard, (Galway Utd).