Former Shelbourne Red Adam McDonnell could be about to face Manchester’s famous Reds of United after the young midfielder finally took his belated first bow for Ipswich Town in their 4-1 League Cup win at Doncaster on Tuesday night.
McDonnell made an impressive debut for the Tractor Boys, who will now face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
“I thought Adam McDonnell was excellent on his debut against two good players,” said Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy of the player who only turned 18 in May. McCarthy had wanted to bring him into his first team panel last season but, having signed him from Shels almost exactly 12 months ago, the former Ireland boss was furious when Fifa red tape – pertaining to the recruitment of ‘foreign’ players and the standard of academic education clubs have to provide them – prevented his call-up to the first team until he turned 18.
“He’s a good player is Adam,” McCarthy said. “Whilst they’re trying to protect him education-wise, they’re actually depriving him of what he’s very good at doing, which is playing football. He’s not coming from a country where he’s not had an education: arguably the education system in Ireland is better than here.”
Described in the build-up to Monday by McCarthy as “technically very, very good”, McDonnell duly impressed the manager on his debut before being, perhaps not surprisingly, forced out of the game with apparent cramp in the first period of extra-time.
After the win, which stretched the Blues’ unbeaten start to six games ahead of a table-topping clash against Brighton at Portman Road, McCarthy declared his intention to stick with some of the Town’s younger and fringe players for the next Capital Cup game. But that was before the draw for the third round pitted the Tractor Boys against United at Old Trafford.
“Man United away – piece of cake,” the manager quipped. “I answered a question in the press conference: ‘will I stick with the kids?’ I said ‘yes’, but I’m not so sure now. We might need a few more of the senior ones. It’s a fabulous tie. I’m delighted..”
As it happens, Adam McDonnell previously had trials at United and also Bolton, before impressing McCarthy while playing for Shels against Waterford United and then in a friendly against Ipswich last summer.
He has been capped at U15, 16, 17 and 19 for Ireland.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved