Towell: Turkey clash can be new start

RICHIE TOWELL believes a baby-faced Republic of Ireland U21 side can use the final game of a forgettable campaign as something to build on for the future.

Celtic midfielder Towell, 19, made his debut for the Irish U21s in a 1-0 loss to Switzerland on Friday.

The Dubliner was one of four graduates from last season’s U19s team in a youthful 11 – which also included current U19 squad member Robert Brady – in Lugano.

But the Irish will field an even less-experienced in their last game of the current campaign away to Turkey today due to suspensions and injuries.

Derry City’s Shane McEleney and Dundalk’s Daniel Kearns flew to Turkey yesterday to join up with fellow late call-ups Bohemians striker Paddy Madden and Galway United pair Seamus Conneely and Karl Sheppard.

Anthony Stokes and Eddie Nolan were ruled out after receiving yellow cards against the Swiss while Alan Judge (groin), Gavin Gunning (groin) and Shane O’Connor (hamstring) all sustained knocks.

“There are a few of us who have come up through the ranks together and we’re now in the U21s together. Hopefully this is another stepping stone for us,” said the former Crumlin United star.

“These two games will give us a bit of experience at this level and hopefully in the next campaign we can have a really strong U21 team.

“Friday was my first game for the U21 sid and I was happy with how I played. The manager was delighted with our performance and I thought it went very well, aside from the result.

“Against Turkey we’re going to have to be more clinical in front of goal.”

Caretaker boss Wim Koevermans will again take charge as newly appointed boss Noel King is in Trinidad & Tobago for the Women’s Under-17 World Cup. The Irish need a win in Kocaeli to avoid finishing bottom of a group that they could have won had they converted even a handful of the 100 plus goal chances they created in their seven games thus far.

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