The Republic of Ireland Men’s Under-19s and Men’s Under-17s teams have today discovered their opponents for the Elite Round of their respective UEFA European Championship qualifiers following draws in Nyon, Switzerland.
Tom Mohan’s MU19s will have to overcome Portugal, England and Armenia in Group 3 to reach the European Championship finals in Slovakia this summer.
Colin O’Brien’s MU17s have been drawn in Group 8 against Bulgaria, Portugal and Finland as they look to qualify for the European Championships being held in Israel.
The Elite Round for both age groups are scheduled for the March international window with the host nation for each group’s qualifiers to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the Elite Round draw, Ireland MU19 Head Coach Tom Mohan said: “For you to play at the European Championships you have play against the top nations and this is a challenge we will embrace.
“It’s an opportunity for our players to test themselves against difficult opposition and the prize at the end of it is playing for your country at a European Championship.
“They will be three tough games, Portugal and England are always tough and then you have Armenia who qualified ahead of Scotland in their group.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Reflecting on the draw, Ireland MU17 Head Coach Colin O’Brien added: “You’re always moving up a level for the Elite Phase and you can see that in the quality of opposition we’ll face.
“I expect it to be a tight group and a challenge for us. You can’t underestimate any nation because every country is developing and making steps.
“It’s known about the quality that Portugal have, they’re a possession-based team that are technical and attacking but you also have Bulgaria who won all three games of their games in qualification and have been a tough opponent in underage games in the past.
“Likewise with Finland, who we came up against with the 2002 age group, they’re very technical. We’re delighted we can now plan and prepare and it will give the players something to focus on for March.”
The MU19s also discovered their opponents for 2022/23 edition of the competition. Ireland who were in Pot A were drawn in Group 4 with Hungary, Wales and Gibraltar for the qualification round which begins the road to the finals in Malta in 2023. The games are to be played next summer/autumn.
MU17 were drawn in Group 10 for next season’s qualification path. Like the MU19s they were also in Pot A. They will face Norway, Belarus, Armenia in the qualification round. The finals are to be played in Hungary with the qualifiers also to be played next summer/autumn.
UEFA European Under-19 Championship 2021/22 Elite Round – Group 3
Portugal, England, Republic of Ireland, Armenia Games to be played March 2022
UEFA European Under-17 Championship 2021/22 Elite Round – Group 8
Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Finland Games to be played March 2022
UEFA European Under 19 Championship 2022/23 Qualifying Round – Group 4
Republic of Ireland Hungary Wales, Gibraltar Games to be played summer/autumn 2022
UEFA European Under 17 Championship 2022/23 Qualifying Round – Group 10
Republic of Ireland, Norway, Belarus, Armenia Games to be played summer/autumn 2022