McConnell captains Ireland U-18s

Letterkenny native Ryan McConnell had the honour of skippering the Republic of Ireland U-18 side in their friendly on Tuesday night away to Switzerland.

Letterkenny native Ryan McConnell had the honour of skippering the Republic of Ireland U-18 side in their friendly on Tuesday night away to Switzerland.

Centre-back McConnell is part of the Manchester United youth academy and drew praise from his international manager Paul Doolin, despite Ireland going down to a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Swiss in the Philippe Pottier Stadium in Monthey.

Kyle Callan McFadden from Ramelton was also part of the squad for the first fixture of the double header. The sides meet again on Thursday. The hosts scored the game’s only goal in the 77th minute when Shpetim Sulejmani slotted home after a cross by fellow substitute Olivier Da Costa was not properly cleared.

“There had been horrendous rain in the build-up which made for a very heavy pitch and it was close to being called off a few hours beforehand,” said Doolin.

“Overall we deserved a draw and I was very happy considering it was the first game with a group of players who haven’t played together for over a year. The defence was good. Ryan McConnell and Mason Watkins-Clark were very good and Shane Fagan was solid.”