Class of 2019 glven chance to make history
As they prepare for the upcoming UEFA European Under-17 Championships, Colin O'Brien's players may be a little daunted by the task of performing on home soil and competing in such an important tournament. But they shouldn't be.
Roy Keane, Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane, John O'Shea, and Robbie Brady have all been here before, and it did nothing but further boost their careers as they each went on to represent Ireland at senior level and become national heroes.
History shows that Ireland have quite a good record at the U-17 EUROs - winning it in 1998 when it was graded at U-16 level - and that should give confidence to this latest group of teenagers who have been afforded a terrific opportunity to shine on a big stage.
Captain Seamas Keogh certainly sees it that way as he said: "To play in the European Championships, which is such a prestigious tournament, is something else.
"The fact that it's at your own back door is something that everyone dreams of and we're lucky enough that it is happening for us."
Keogh, who signed for Southampton last year, reckons these finals represent a unique chance for this Ireland squad to etch their name into the history books and use it as a launchpad for their professional careers.
Head Coach O'Brien shares that sentiment and it is something that he would have stated to the two previous groups of players who he guided to the quarter-finals of this competition. He will surely set a similar target for the class of 2019.
How the Republic of Ireland have fared in this tournament...
UEFA Under-16 Championships
1988: Group Stage
1992: Group Stage
1993: Group Stage
1994: Group Stage
2000: Group Stage
UEFA Under-17 Championships
2008: Group Stage
2015: Group Stage