Crawford names U21s squad for Israel play-offs
Aaron Connolly, on loan at Venezia from Brighton & Hove Albion, returns to the U21s squad as do Udinese’s Festy Ebosele and Barnsley midfielder Luca Connell.
Sean Roughan of Lincoln City is called into an U21 squad first the first time since June 2021 while Crawford hands a first Ireland call-up to Aston Villa loanee Finn Azaz.
St. Patrick’s Athletic captain Joe Redmond is named among the 21s panel having been part of the squad in March. Connolly returns to the U21s fold for the first time in two years when he was part of the side that beat Sweden 3-1 in Kalmar.
The Galwegian’s form at U21s level saw him called into the senior team and he has since gone on to earn eight caps. Ebosele was last in a U21s squad in November with his Derby County form last season seeing him called-up to Stephen Kenny’s senior squad in the May/June international window.
Connell has three U21 caps to his name and last featured for Crawford’s team in a 2-1 win over the Australian Olympic side in Marbella, Spain in 2021.
Roughan was part of that Marbella camp however didn’t feature due to an injury. His form with Drogheda United, on loan earlier this season, and with his parent club Lincoln City, has seen him earn his inclusion in the group.
Azaz will be in line to represent Ireland for the first time. The midfielder, who is on loan at Plymouth Argyle, has impressed this season adding to another successful loan spell last year where he was named League Two Young Player of the Season.
The first leg of the play-offs will take place at Tallaght Stadium on Friday, September 23 (KO 7pm), where more than 7,000 have already secured their seat for the game.
The second leg is scheduled for Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel on Tuesday, September 27 (KO 7pm Irish time).
Republic of Ireland Under-21 Squad
Goalkeepers: David Harrington (Cork City), Brian Maher (Derry City), Luke McNicholas (Sligo Rovers)
Defenders: Eiran Cashin (Derby County), Festy Ebosele (Udinese), Andy Lyons (Shamrock Rovers), Mark McGuinness (Sheffield Wednesday, on loan from Cardiff City), Jake O’Brien (RWD Molenbeek, on loan from Crystal Palace), Lee O’Connor (Tranmere Rovers), Joe Redmond (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Sean Roughan (Lincoln City)
Midfielders: Finn Azaz (Plymouth Argyle, on loan from Aston Villa), Luca Connell (Barnsley), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Dawson Devoy (MK Dons), Joe Hodge (Wolves), Will Smallbone (Stoke City, on loan from Southampton), Ross Tierney (Motherwell)
Forwards: Aaron Connolly (Venezia, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion), Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Joshua ‘JJ’ Kayode (MK Dons, on loan from Rotherham United), Liam Kerrigan (Como 1907), Ollie O’Neill (Fulham), Mipo Odubeko (Port Vale, on loan from West Ham United), Tyreik Wright (Bradford City, on loan from Aston Villa)
UEFA European Under-21 Championship Play-Offs (all times are Irish time)
Friday, September 23 | Ireland U21 v Israel U21, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin, KO 7pm
Tuesday, September 27 | Israel U21 v Ireland U21, Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel KO 7pm