Ireland’s Euro U19 semi-finalists of 2011 — where are they now?

John Fallon recalls the 18-man Republic of Ireland squad from the 2011 U19 Euros
Ireland’s Euro U19 semi-finalists of 2011 — where are they now?

Manager Paul Doolin watches on as Matt Doherty, Eoin Wearen, Samir Carruthers, Jeff Hendrick, and John Egan take part in squad training at the Concordia Stadium, Chiajna, Bucharest. Picture: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

GOALKEEPERS

Aaron McCarey (Wolves).
Minutes at tournament: 360

Patience paid off for the Monaghan man when he forged a breakthrough at Wolves in 2013 but it didn’t last long as he moved to Scotland and eventually back to Ireland with Dundalk. Currently Cliftonville’s No 1.

Sean McDermott (Arsenal).
Minutes: 0

McDermott got his chance under Doolin the following season but like McCarey sampled several clubs following his release by Arsenal. A spell back in Bucharest for Dinamo ended after just three games and he’s returned to his hometown club of Kristiansund, playing in the top tier Norwegian Eliteserien.

DEFENDERS

Matt Doherty (Wolves).
Minutes: 270

Arguably the most successful graduate of the group, Doherty spent a decade at Wolves, including a few loan spells, before Jose Mourinho brought him to Tottenham a year ago for €18m. A first choice in the Ireland team.

Derrick Williams (Aston Villa).
Minutes: 260

The versatile left-footer fled Villa after one Premier League appearance to join Bristol City and, over that spell and a longer subsequent one at Blackburn Rovers, broke into the senior squad to win three caps. Recently moved Stateside to join LA Galaxy.

John Egan (Sunderland).
Minutes: 360

Managerial upheaval at Sunderland, coupled with a broken leg, hastened his exit but the Corkman bounced back with gusto to eventually grace the Premier League in 2019 with Sheffield United. Captained Ireland in the last two matches.

Anthony O’Connor (Blackburn Rovers).
Minutes: 360

Another centre-back to play every minute in Romania, O’Connor exited Blackburn without playing a senior game. The Leesider has carved out a lower league career since, sandwiching a spell in Scotland with Aberdeen. League Two Morecambe is his latest stop.

Declan Walker (Wrexham United).
Minutes: 0

Despite being a regular presence during both sets of qualifiers, the Warrington-born full-back was the only outfield player not to feature at the finals. Played in the 2018 Welsh Cup final and currently on the books of Conference side Matlock Town.

Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen).
Minutes: 190

One of Doolin’s finds over the season, the Galway centre-back started two of the four games. Broke into the Aberdeen first team after the tournament, moving onto St Johnstone, Southend United and, finally, to St Mirren where he’s captain.

MIDFIELDERS

Jeff Hendrick (Derby County).
Minutes: 360

Ireland’s midfield marvel built on his tournament by establishing himself further at Derby County. That progress, allied to his starring role at Euro 2016, clinched a €12.5m transfer to Burnley and he remains in the Premier League as a Newcastle United player for a second season.

Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa).
Minutes: 315

It was all rosy when Carruthers made his Premier League debut at Anfield in 2012 but his trajectory never matched the expectation. A distasteful incident during the 2016 Cheltenham Races brought notoriety and at 28 he’s plummeted a long way to Conference outfit Hemel Hempstead.

Kevin Knight (unattached).
Minutes: 78

The winger had just been released by Leicester City and after, making three sub appearances in Romania, travelled around the League of Ireland circuit and is at present on the books of Cabinteely. His younger brother Jason, now a full international, helped Ireland achieve their next Euro U19 finals qualification in 2019.

Anthony Forde (Wolves).
Minutess: 360

The youngest member of the squad, from Ballingarry in Co Limerick, was soon handed his Premier League debut by Mick McCarthy, playing six times in his first top-flight season. Opted to join Walsall in 2014 and has since played for Rotherham and current club Oxford United.

Kane Ferdinand (Southend United).
Minutes: 38

A relative of Rio and Anton, the Londoner had already made inroads at Southend before the tournament and a year later, transferred to Peterborough United for €500,000. Spent five years at Woking, moving to Maidenhead United for the season ahead.

John O’Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers).
Minutes: 292

Another of Doolin’s go-to players, O’Sullivan struggled for game-time at Blackburn, undertaking six loan spells before quitting for Carlisle United in 2017. He has just agreed a deal at Accrington Stanley, where he’d spent two of his loan stints.

Eoin Wearen (West Ham United).
Minutes: 45

Figured off the bench twice, in the final two matches against Romania and Spain, but Wearen’s career was blighted by injury. Played in both the League of Ireland and Irish League before relocating to Texas, where he combines his career at Denton Diablos with coaching work.

Sean Murray (Watford).
Minutes: 294

All continued to go the right direction for Murray when he signed a five-year contract extension at Watford and crowned his U21 debut with a stunning goal in Italy. However, he never received the expected senior call-up from Martin O’Neill nor the chance to shine under Watford’s Italian owners. Has been at Dundalk for the last two years.

FORWARDS

Conor Murphy (Bray Wanderers).
Minutes: 176

Eight goals for Bray Wanderers upon his return from Middleborough, plus international strikes against Croatia and Italy, propelled Murphy into the role of Doolin’s first-choice striker.

Didn’t earn a return cross-channel but finished out his League of Ireland career at Bohemians, having been part of St Patrick’s Athletic’s 2013 league-winning team. Murphy signed for Leinster Senior League side Crumlin United, lifting the 2016 FAI Intermediate Cup at Aviva Stadium.

Connor Smith (Watford).
Minutes at tournament: 149

After finishing runners-up in Sky’s Football’s Next Star show, the Mullingar man made eight appearances for Watford. Stints at Wimbledon and Yeovil Town followed and he’s just returned to Conference club Boreham Wood as player-coach.

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