U19 coach Paul Doolin, whose squad will leave shortly for the European Championship finals in Romania, has revealed that he has lost contact with the team’s former captain, the highly rated Manchester United winger Robbie Brady.
Brady played for the Irish team in the first phase of Euro qualifiers in Bulgaria back in October but, after the side had successfully negotiated its passage through those three games, Doolin was unable to make contact with the young Dubliner when he attempted to call him up for the elite qualifiers in Poland in May.
Said Doolin yesterday: “Robert was called into the last squad but, to be honest, I tried to get in touch with him and I haven’t heard from him since. I rang him, couldn’t get him and he didn’t ring me back. So I’m still in the dark. I couldn’t tell you why he didn’t ring me.”
Asked if he was angered by the lack of response, Doolin replied: “I don’t think there’s any point in going down that road. I don’t know why he didn’t respond because I haven’t been able to speak to him. I’ve tried so many times but I didn’t get in contact. But, look, forget about it, we went with the squad we had to Poland and it was fantastic.”
In those elite qualifers, a win over the host nation, a draw with Ukraine and a memorable 3-0 defeat of Italy saw Ireland safely through to the finals for the first time since 2002.
“I think the results, in fairness, have shown that it’s been the right squad and, personally, I only want fellas that want to play,” said Doolin yesterday. “I’ll give you a for instance. We were due to leave Dublin going to Croatia (for friendlies in February) and we were missing a centre-half who was injured. We rang one centre-half, he couldn’t get there. Rang another, Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen). I’d never met him and never seen him play, other than on two DVDs. And he says, ‘yeah, I’ll be down tomorrow morning at half-six, I’ll get my flight down myself and I’ll speak to you then’. And he’s a fantastic player, good attitude, great professional, playing in Aberdeen’s first team. So that’s the type of people you want.”
O’Shaughnessy is duly included the 18-man Euro finals squad which Doolin unveiled at FAI headquarters in Dublin yesterday.