Ireland U15: Donohue names first squad of 2020
Ireland have a 100% record this season and beat England 3-1 at St George’s Park in their most recent game in December.
They face Australia Under-16s at FAI National Training Centre, Abbotstown on Saturday, January 18 before flying out to Murcia, Spain for a three-game tournament against the host nation, The Netherlands and Czech Republic.
There’s a first call-up for Shamrock Rovers’ defender Alex Malone, while Malaga’s Caden McLoughlin and Celtic’s Rocco Vata will join up with Donohue’s squad for the games in Murcia.
On the squad selection
“I got the top 34 players in last week and they played a game against each other which was really high quality. It was hard to pick a squad because of the high standards and the players who did well against England did well again. Alex Malone is a debutant who has played himself into the final squad with a fine performance and he’s one of a very good group who will play in these next four games.”
“Australia will be a physical challenge. They are Under-16s so their players could be between 12 and 20 months older than some of our players. We’ll be applying our principles of play that we applied at the start of the season during our assessment and international games. The decision making and communication process is getting better and we’re not going to change anything. I’ve gone away from worrying what the opposition are going to do, I’m all about us and what we can do.”
On facing Spain, The Netherlands and Czech Republic
“We played Spain last year and they were the best Under-15s team I have ever seen and I expect the same this year. We’ll be organised and we’ll go into the game confidentially as we’ve performed well against the opposition we’ve faced so far.
“Martijn Reuser, who is the Head Coach of the Dutch Under-15 team, said to me last year he would love to have the Irish DNA of the ‘fighting spirit’ in the Dutch teams. I think we’ve moved on, it’s not just fighting spirit, it’s quality football and if you look to our performance against England we started the game with 14 passes and the ball was in the back of the net. We can compete with The Netherlands by playing football.
“Czech Republic have invested in their underage teams and are getting them in more often for games. We played them last year in a double-header and we were lucky to win 1-0 in the first game and in the second game they beat us comfortably – they always have strength in depth. Make no mistake our players will be going out in each game to win it.”
Republic of Ireland squad
Goalkeepers: Conor Walsh (Mayo SL), Shay O’Leary (Shamrock Rovers)
Defenders: Sam Curtis (Shamrock Rovers), Luke O’Brien (Shamrock Rovers), Alex Malone (Shamrock Rovers), Cathal Heffernan (Cork City), Trisden Hughes (Klub Kildare), Finn Cowper Gray (Klub Kildare) Daniel Kelly (Mayo SL)
Midfielders: Adam Murphy (St Patrick’s Athletic), Cian Barrett (Shamrock Rovers), Justin Ferizaj (Shamrock Rovers), James McManus (St Kevin’s Boys), Liam Murray (College Corinthians Cork SL), Joe O’Brien Whitmarsh (Cork City) Rocco Vata (Celtic) Alex Nolan (St Patrick’s Athletic)
Forwards: Caden McLoughlin (Malaga), Gideon Tetteh (Shamrock Rovers), Kevin Zefi (Shamrock Rovers)
January 18 – Ireland v Australia, FAI NTC, Abbotstown, KO 1pm
January 30 – Spain v Ireland, Pinatar Arena, Murcia, Spain KO 12pm (Irish time)
February 1 – Ireland v The Netherlands, Pinatar Arena, Murcia, Spain, KO 3pm (Irish time)
February 3 – Ireland v Czech Republic, Pinatar Arena, Murcia, Spain KO 12pm (Irish time)