Ireland begin UEFA U17s qualifying campaign with Gibraltar clash
THE Republic of Ireland U17 side commences their UEFA U17 Championships Qualifying Round Group 7 campaign tomorrow when they meet Gibraltar in their opening fixture in the mini-tournament in Armenia.
Head Coach Tom Mohan side expects a testing encounter as the Gibraltarians will play their first ever competitive U17 international.
"It's been good since we arrived in Yerevan and the training has gone very well. The players and staff have worked very hard – there has been very good effort put in," said Mohan.
"We've had to condense a lot of sessions into tight period of time as we did so much travelling on Sunday and we had to be aware of tiredness that may affect the players. Overall I feel the squad has been very focused. We've got a lot of work done in three days."
Mohan's squad lost two friendly games in Slovakia last month but he felt that he saw a lot there to be positive about how his side is shaping up. Assessing the quality of Gibraltar is difficult considering they've yet to make an appearance on the international stage at this age-group.
"We can take nothing for granted but we've prepared ourselves as well as we could for the game. They're an international team and have to treat Gibraltar with respect. All we can do is look after our own performance," he said.
"The new players in the squad have settled in very well. The more experienced players have helped integrate them into the squad and it's all about competition for places now. Regardless what eleven we put out we'll have a strong bench too, which is what we wanted.
"We do have very good attacking options and have added a lot of pace to attack and wide areas. Steven Kinsella has come in and done well, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner has settled in well and Nathan Corkery, Shane Elworthy, Cemal Ramadan and Jesse Devers give us pace and quality in attack. However we can't focus too much on that as we've got to be right in defence and create chances for the forward players. "
Ireland's following games see them meet hosts Armenia on Saturday before finishing against England on Tuesday, October 29.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U17 SQUAD
James Talbot (Sunderland AFC)
Colin McCabe (Celtic FC)
Nathan Benson (Crumlin United FC)
Anto Breslin (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC)
Dan Casey (Sunderland AFC)
Corey Whelan (Liverpool FC)
Danny Kane (Huddersfield Town FC)
Evan Osam (Shamrock Rovers FC)
Robert Duggan (Peterborough United FC)
Georgie Poynton (Dundalk FC)
Tom Holland (Manchester City FC)
Thomas Tiernan (Shamrock Rovers FC)
Nathan Corkery (QPR FC)
Shane Elworthy (Fulham FC)
Steven Kinsella (Templeogue United FC)
Alex Mulrooney-Skinner (Millwall FC)
Jessie Devers (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC)
Cemal Ramadan (Ipswich Town FC)
Thursday, October 24
Republic of Ireland v Gibraltar, Yerevan (ARM) (2.00pm).
Saturday, October 26
Republic of Ireland v Armenia, Yerevan (ARM) (2.00pm)
Tuesday, October 29
Republic of Ireland v England, Yerevan (ARM) (12.00pm)