Ireland U17: Squad announced for UEFA Elite Round
The team travel to western Poland next week to play in Group 3 against Georgia, FYR Macedonia and the hosts, Poland.
In the Qualifying Round, Ireland defeated Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Bulgaria, scoring 12 goals and conceding only once. Striker Adam Idah (pictured above) was Europe’s top goalscorer in that round, finding the net on seven occasions.
15 places are up for grabs in the Elite Round, with the eight group winners and seven best runners-up joining hosts England at the 2018 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in May.
"We’ve had a productive few months since the Qualifying Round in Bulgaria, including two friendlies against Turkey. I feel this is the best 20 players we have to try and qualify, in Poland," O’Brien revealed.
Ireland go into the group as top seeds, but face three teams who only lost one game between them in the Qualifying Round. O’Brien knows his squad will be tested in Poland.
“My experience of youth football is that any country could have a very good team at any given time. You cannot underestimate any team.
“We already played Macedonia this season in two friendlies and are very difficult to beat. Georgia recently defeated Belgium, and Poland will prove very difficult on home soil."
Five players named in the squad were part of O’Brien’s squad at the 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Croatia last year. He expects that experience will prove beneficial to the squad.
"Those players would have their eyes opened last year to the levels that are required. That was last year though, and now they have to make sure they play to the standards required, and that they give to the team."
Republic of Ireland U17 squad
Goalkeepers: Kian Clarke (Shamrock Rovers), Jimmy Corcoran (Cherry Orchard)
Defenders: Nathan Collins (Stoke City), Kameron Ledwidge (Southampton), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Max Murphy (Stoke City), Ray O’Sullivan (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Midfielders: Sean Brennan (Southampton), Barry Coffey (Celtic), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), James Furlong (Shamrock Rovers), Conor Grant (Sheffield Wednesday), Jason Knight (Derby County) Adam O’Reilly (Preston North End), Callum Thompson (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Marc Walsh (Swansea City)
Forwards: Adam Idah (Nowrich City), Jordan McEneff (Arsenal), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Tyriek Wright (Aston Villa)
Fixtures - UEFA European Under-17 Championship Elite Round Group 3
March 21: Republic of Ireland v Macedonia, Stadion Chrobrego Głogów, Głogów, KO 17:30 (16:30 Irish Time)
March 24: Republic of Ireland v Georgia, Stadion Chrobrego Głogów, Głogów, KO 17:30 (16:30 Irish Time)
March 27: Poland v Republic of Ireland, Stadion Miejski, Legnica, KO 16:30 (15:30 Irish Time)