Ireland U-21: Leahy confident ahead of Mexico test

Ireland U-21: Leahy confident ahead of Mexico test

Republic of Ireland Under-21 defender Darragh Leahy has hailed the Toulon Tournament as an 'unbelievable experience' as Ireland prepare for their second game of the competition against Mexico.
5th Jun 2019

Ireland are set to face Mexico at Stade Parsemain at 6.30pm (7.30pm local time) in their Group C encounter after securing an impressive victory over China in their opening match. Zack Elbouzedi's first-minute strike was quickly followed by Aaron Connolly's neat finish before two second-half Adam Idah penalties sealed a 4-1 victory for Stephen Kenny's team. 

Mexico U-23, who were finalists in this competition last year and have retained the vast majority of their squad for this year's tournament, opened their tournament with a 2-0 win over Bahrain. Having played a major part in their opening victory, Ireland U-21 defender Leahy is confident Ireland can get a result against the Mexicans. 

"It was a fantastic victory against China so we've got to take that confidence and momentum into the game against Mexico, and believe we can get a result from it," said Leahy. 

"It is going to be a tough game but I think the first game showed how well we've prepared for the tournament and we're doing all the same things for the Mexico game. Training has been really good and we've recovered from the game so we're ready.

"We showed in the game against China that we can score goals so it's important we keep the goals out the other end and let the lads up front do what they can do. It's going to be great for us to test ourselves against this type of opposition."

Mexico U-23 are currently preparing for their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament in October 2019, having won the Gold Medal at the Olympics in 2012. 

Leahy is one of six SSE Airtricity League players in the squad and he believes that seeing so many players from the league represented in the squad is testament to the rising standard of the domestic game in Ireland. 

"It's great for the league and it shows where the league is going, the quality is improving and it gives the home-based lads a great opportunity," continued Leahy. 

"When I came back from England, I didn't see it as a negative, just a bounce board to kick on again and I've really enjoyed playing in the league, and it's given me this opportunity now. 

"There are six of us in the squad from the league so it really shows that the league is an option for players who want to progress to international level and that's great for the game."