“IT’S about developing players but it’s also about qualifying and hopefully winning things.”
So says Paul Doolin of his new job as head coach of the Republic of Ireland U18 and U19 teams. And, having officially been confirmed in the position yesterday, the former manager of UCD, Drogheda United and Cork City will be put to the test as early as next month when he takes charge of the U19s in their European Championship qualifying matches in Bulgaria against Luxembourg, Serbia and the host nation.
But, before that, Doolin will be taking his U23 side to Estonia next week for the final group match of the International Challenge Trophy. Should the team qualify for the semi-finals, which are scheduled for next March, Doolin will again be in charge unless there is a clash with his U19 duties, in which case the latter would take precedent.
Doolin holds a UEFA Pro Licence, UEFA’s highest coaching qualification, and in his new role he has inherited his backroom coaching staff from former U19 and U17 manager Sean McCaffrey.
As part of the shake-up of the Irish underage system which has also seen Noel King newly appointed as U21 boss, the U17 and U16 sides will now be coached by John Morling.
Says Doolin of his latest appointment: “It’s an honour. The chance to work with the best young players in the country is a fantastic opportunity and I look forward to getting down to work straight away.”
Wim Koevermans, FAI International High Performance Director said: “I am delighted to welcome Paul on board as head coach of the Republic of Ireland U18 and U19 squads. This is a very important position within Irish football as it involves working with players at a crucial stage in their careers.
“Paul is extremely knowledgeable about the game and his experience in football will be a tremendous asset to the young players he will be working with.
“I am looking forward to working closely with Paul in his new role.”
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