Ireland head to Italy for UEFA Regions' Cup qualifiers
After hosting and winning the competition earlier this year, Gerry Smith's team will be aiming to become the first region to successfully defend the trophy when the finals tournament takes place in June 2017.
In order to achieve that, Ireland must get through the Intermediate Round and overcome Italy, Slovenia, and FYR Macedonia when the games take place in September and October next year.
"It's a tough enough draw, to be honest. We know that going to Italy will be very difficult and they will be a very good team," said Smith.
"We may be the champions at the moment but that doesn't make the games any easier because they will be very difficult and we will just have to see how they pan out for us.
"It's all about getting to the finals again. We know that we have to get through these qualifiers and how difficult they will be but we'll look forward to the games and the task ahead."
Ireland will travel to Italy for their three games on September 28, September 30, and October 2 next year, where the group winners will progress through to the finals tournament hosted by one of the countries that qualifies.
2016/17 UEFA Regions' Cup Intermediate Round
Group 7: Republic of Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia