Republic of Ireland Under 17s are set to take on Turkey in Galway in a double header this week which will act as the final preparation for March’s UEFA European Under 17 Championship Elite Round.
Included in Colin O'Brien's side is Gaoth Dobhair's Marc Wash who is now attached to Swansea City, while Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon student Seamus Keogh is also involved.
The two games against Turkey are scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday, both with 7 p.m. k.o.
Colin O’Brien’s side will travel to Poland for games against the hosts along with ties with Georgia and Macedonia. The top two sides will then qualify for May’s Finals which will take place in England.
Turkey come into the games off the back of Elite Round qualification while they also impressed in 2017, making the semi finals of the European Championships and qualifying for last October’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
Ireland Head Coach O’Brien feels the games this week will be the perfect preparation ahead of the crucial Elite Round.
“This is a big opportunity for the players. This is our last camp before the Elite Round next month and they are two important games for our development,” he said.
“Turkey are always formidable, they bring a high tempo game and will be a big test for us. The two games will be a challenge for everyone. There are places in the team up for grabs. We have had a home based event and a UK based event in preparation and watched plenty of players so competition for places is very high.”
Prior to the move to an Under 17 age bracket, the competition O’Brien’s team compete in was known as the Under 16 European Championship. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Ireland’s famous win in that tournament, a squad that Liam Miller was a key member of. With the sad news of his passing this week, O’Brien paid tribute to his fellow Corkman.
“The past week has put everything in perspective,” O’Brien lamented. “Liam Miller was an inspiration to many players, he won the Under 16 European Championship with Ireland, and if the current crop of players can go on to have half the career Liam did they will be doing very well. On behalf of the squad and management team I would like to pass on my very sincere condolences to Liam’s family and friends at this very sad time,” he added.
Tuesday’s game with Turkey is scheduled to take place at Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway, with a 7pm kick off. However, with heavy rain due in the West this evening a pitch inspection will take place tomorrow morning. The FAI will publish an update should the venue change.
Republic of Ireland U17 Squad
Kian Clarke (Shamrock Rovers), Sean Bohan (Bohemians), Jimmy Corcoran (Cherry Orchard)
Max Murphy (Stoke City), Nathan Collins (Stoke City), Ray O Sullivan (Wolves), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Conor Grant (Sheffield Wednesday), Cian Kelly (Shamrock Rovers)
Barry Coffey (Celtic), Jason Knight (Derby County), Callum Thompson (Wolves), Marc Walsh (Swansea City), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), Seamus Keogh (Sligo Rovers), James Furlong (Shamrock Rovers)
Tyriek Wright (Aston Villa), Troy Parrot (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Idah (Norwich City)
February 13: Republic of Ireland v Turkey, Eamonn Deacy Park, KO 19:00
February 15: Republic of Ireland v Turkey, Eamonn Deacy Park, KO 13:00