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O’Brien urges Green Army to row in behind U17s in push for Euro glory

Under 17 championship

By John Hudson

Colin O’Brien is relishing the prospect of seeing his side take on the cream of European Under 17 football in Ireland during the coming weeks.

The Republic of Ireland Under-17 Head Coach has announced his squad for the 2019 UEFA European Under-17 Championships, which kick off this Friday (May 3) with 16 nations playing at various venues across the country. 

This is the third straight year that O’Brien will lead an Ireland team in this tournament with a quarter-final finish achieved in Croatia in 2017 and in England last year.

The Cork native has had a long build up to the championships as hosts Ireland were not part of qualifying however they can finally focus on the games where they will take on Greece, Czech Republic and Belgium in Group A.

“We are all looking forward to the challenge of playing competitive games in front of a home crowd. It’s important that the players remain focused on the games and don’t turn into a fan or spectator and be ready to play football.

“Even for our own development, to play in front of an Irish crowd, getting behind the team, we know how well our supporters get behind our teams, and we really need that. We will need that 12th man, because tournament football is demanding, you have three games in seven days.

“Although we were spared having to qualify, during the past year we prepared by playing international games against Turkey, England, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Belgium, and Finland. While a mini tournament was staged in Tallaght Stadium and RSC, Waterford, the venues where we play our three group games” explained O’Brien.

Tottenham Hotspur starlet Troy Parrott could yet be added to squad as O’Brien is still in talks with his club over the possibility of play maker being involved.

Tickets 5 euro adults and school boys/girls free are selling well but O’Brien has encouraged the public to come in support the team and make the most of this prestigious tournament being hosted here.

“I can’t stress it enough to the public, this really is the biggest competition that these lads can play in. It’s the best of the best in Europe coming to Ireland – there is going to be some serious quality on the doorstep and we have some quality in our team as well. 

“Every bit of support we can get, whether it is in Tallaght or the RSC, come out and support us.” said O’Brien.

Republic of Ireland Under-17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Manchester City), Jimmy Corcoran (Preston North End), Harry Halwax (Derby County)
Defenders: Sean McEvoy (Ballinmallard United), Anselmo Garcia McNulty (Real Betis), Luke Turner (Aberdeen), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City), Timi Sobowale (Manchester City), James Furlong (Shamrock Rovers)

Midfielders: Charlie McCann (Manchester United), Joe Hodge (Manchester City), Brandon Holt (St Patrick’s Athletic), Seamas Keogh (Southampton), Ronan McKinley (Derry City), Sean Kennedy (Sunderland), Festy Ebsoele (Derby County)

Forwards: Matt Everitt (Brighton & Hove Albion), Conor Carty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Joshua Giurgi (Norwich City)

Fixtures – Group A
Friday, May 3: Republic of Ireland v Greece, Tallaght Stadium  (7.0)
Monday, May 6: Republic of Ireland v Czech Republic, RSC Waterford (7.0)
Thursday, May 9: Republic of Ireland v Belgium, Tallaght Stadium (7.0)

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