Ireland U19: Introducing the 2019 Squad

U-19 Ireland team.jpg

Ireland U19: Introducing the 2019 Squad

They are just the third Republic of Ireland team to compete at the UEFA European Under-19 Championships, but who are the Class of 2019?
14th Jul 2019

This is a very varied squad with players coming from Cavan, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Leitrim, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and England, but there is a great sense of unity amongst the group.

There were another 15 players involved in the Qualifying & Elite Rounds who did not make this squad for the trip to Armenia. But here is a closer look at the players who are part of the final set-up.

1: Brian Maher
Date of Birth: 01/11/2000
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: St Patrick's Athletic
Schoolboy Clubs: Raheny United, St Kevin's Boys
A mainstay of the U19 team, Brian recorded three clean sheets in qualifying and never conceded more than one goal in any of the other games. The Dubliner is quick to use the ball when at his feet, agile on his line, and a solid shot-stopper.

2: Andy Lyons
Date of Birth: 02/08/2000
Position: Defender
Club: Bohemians
Schoolboy Clubs: Naas AFC, St Joseph's Boys
A double-winning captain of Bohemians Under-19s, this Naas native has since been promoted to the club's first-team squad. He has played a key part in Ireland qualifying for this tournament with a number of accomplished displays at right-back.

3: Kameron Ledwidge
Date of Birth: 07/04/2001
Position: Defender
Club: Southampton
Schoolboy Clubs: St Kevin's Boys
This is Kameron's third successive European Championships having featured for Colin O'Brien's Under-17s in Croatia and England over the last two years. The left-back is strong defensively and possesses the ability to execute long-range passes or crosses from deep.

4: Lee O'Connor
Date of Birth: 28/07/2000
Position: Defender / Midfielder
Club: Manchester United
Schoolboy Clubs: Villa FC
Returning to the U19 squad having featured for Stephen Kenny's Under-21s, Lee is one of the most capped Ireland underage internationals of all time as the versatile player is closing in on his 57th cap. The Waterford native will captain the team.

5: Oisin McEntee
Date of Birth: 05/01/2001
Position: Defender
Club: Newcastle United
Schoolboy Clubs: Cootehill Celtic, Carrick Rovers, Belvedere, Malahide United
There are a lot of similarities between Oisin and current Ireland senior international Shane Duffy as they are big, commanding centre-backs who like to build play from the back, but truly like nothing better than winning aerial battles.

6: Mark McGuinness
Date of Birth: 05/01/2001
Position: Defender
Club: Arsenal
Schoolboy Clubs: Arsenal
Hailing from London, Mark qualifies through his Derry-born father and has been lucky enough to play for his boyhood club, Arsenal, all the way up to their Under-23 team. A giant defender who reads the game well, he has returned from a long-term injury and looks sharp again.

7: Ali Reghba
Date of Birth: 14/01/2000
Position: Forward
Club: Leicester City
Schoolboy Clubs: St Columbans, Woodlawn, St Paul's, Home Farm, Shelbourne
After originally breaking into the SSE Airtricity League underage set-up with Shelbourne, Ali joined Bohemians and quickly excelled. The German-born forward, whose father is Algerian and mother is Irish, benefitted from time spent on the FAI-ETB course and is at his best when running at opposition defenders.

8: Niall Morahan
Date of Birth: 30/05/2000
Position: Midfielder
Club: Sligo Rovers
Schoolboy Clubs: Carrick Town, Strand Hill
The final player to be added to the squad, Niall had to make the long trip to Armenia on his own but has already showed in training just why he was selected. The Leitrim native is a hard-working midfielder who covers more ground than an electric lawnmower.

9: Jonathan Afolabi
Date of Birth: 14/01/2000
Position: Forward
Club: Unattached
Schoolboy Clubs: Lourdes Celtic, Shamrock Rovers, St Joseph's Boys
Powerful and precise, Jonathan is a forward in the same mould as former Netherlands frontman Patrick Kluivert. He knows when to drop off to receive a pass, when to make a run through the lines, and when to bury a shot into the back of the net. Having recently left Southampton, he wants to keep up his good record of scoring at this level.

10: Matt Everitt
Date of Birth: 24/10/2002
Position: Midfielder / Forward
Club: Brighton & Hove Albion
Schoolboy Clubs: Lower Kingswood Terriers, King Park Royals
The new kid on the block, Matt caught the eye earlier this summer with the U17s as he produced a man-of-the-match performance in the 1-1 draw with Greece. At his best when cutting in from a wide position, Matt is just as comfortable operating in a more central area or further forward. He qualifies through his grandmother, Theresa, from Cork.

11: Tyreik Wright
Date of Birth: 22/09/2001
Position: Midfielder / Forward
Club: Aston Villa
Schoolboy Clubs: Lakewood AFC
Similar to Kameron Ledwidge, Tyreik is playing in his third straight EUROs. Hailing from Ovens, Cork - the same hometown as Liam Miller - the tricky attacker has improved year on year since being involved in the FAI Emerging Talent Programme in Blarney and joining Aston Villa. He is a natural wide player who likes to take on full-backs.

12: Andrew Omobamidele 
Date of Birth: 23/06/2002
Position: Defender
Club: Norwich City
Schoolboy Clubs: Leixlip United
Originally from Lucan, Dublin, Andrew now calls Leixlip home and is seen as something of a local hero there after scoring for the U17s in the EUROs earlier this summer. The athletic defender will rarely been beaten in a foot race while his range of passing and tackling marks him out as a serious talent.

13: Jack James
Date of Birth: 26/01/2000
Position: Defender
Club: Unattached
Schoolboy Clubs: Hitchin Town, Biggleswade United
Most recently with Luton Town, Jack is someone who can play across the backline or in midfield but is probably most comfortable at full-back. Eligible through his grandfather John, who was a Kilkenny man, this tough-tackling player brings a lot to the squad and is a fierce competitor.

14: Barry Coffey
Date of Birth: 27/03/2001
Position: Midfielder
Club: Celtic
Schoolboy Clubs: Nenagh AFC
Comfortable on the ball, Barry likes to play with his head up and scan the pitch searching for the perfect pass. The Tipperary native is also quick to close down opponents when chasing possession and he is not afraid to get forward to join counter attacks.

15: Conor Grant
Date of Birth: 23/07/2001
Position: Midfielder
Club: Sheffield Wednesday
Schoolboy Clubs: St Ita's, Malahide United
As if by magic, Conor has this incredible knack of breaking free from tight situations with the ball still at his feet. The close control and technical ability allow him to make a big difference in midfield, where he almost ghosts across the grass with his style of running. An excellent connector of play.

16: George McMahon
Date of Birth: 16/06/2000
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Burnley
Schoolboy Clubs: Long Riston AFC
With grandparents from Monaghan, George answered Ireland's call to rival Brian Maher for the goalkeeping position. The Hull native is a big presence between the posts, quick off his line, and capable of pulling off important saves if called upon to do so.

17: Festy Ebosele
Date of Birth: 02/08/2002
Position: Midfielder / Forward
Club: Derby County
Schoolboy Clubs: Themoyne Rangers, St Joseph's Boys
A tricky winger who terrifies opposition defenders with his lethal combination of speed, skill & strength, Festy has come a long way from first playing in the SportsDirect FAI Summer Soccer Schools camp in Enniscorthy. He featured in the U17 EUROs this year and received an early call-up for the U19s for the Elite Round qualifiers.

18: Joe Hodge
Date of Birth: 14/09/2002
Position: Midfielder
Club: Manchester City
Schoolboy Clubs: Poynton Juniors
A supreme passer of the ball, Joe is always looking to either receive the ball or move it on. With fantastic positional awareness and consistent decision-making, he is very similar to Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. He qualifies through his Dublin-born grandmother Bernadette and also played in this year's U17 EUROs.

19: Brandon Kavanagh
Date of Birth: 21/09/2000
Position: Midfielder
Club: Shamrock Rovers
Schoolboy Clubs: Crumlin United, St Francis, St Joseph's Boys
At his best when drifting in between the lines, Brandon is a player who likes to make things happen. He craves having the ball at his feet, where he can either take a player on, slide a pass through that splits a defence, or unload from distance with one of his powerful strikes.

20: Ciaran Brennan
Date of Birth: 05/05/2000
Position: Defender
Club: Sheffield Wednesday
Schoolboy Clubs: Thorncliffe Juniors
A tall defender who can operate at full-back or centre-back, Ciaran is quick to close space and to react to any potential danger. The Sheffield lad qualifies through his Limerick-born grandparents and has impressed in training with the U19s.

Republic of Ireland Under-19 Staff
Head Coach: Tom Mohan
Assistant Coaches: Mick Neville, Colin Healy
Goalkeeping Coach: Dermot O'Neill
Performance Analyst: Martin Doyle
Opposition Analysts: Mickey Feeney, Mark Scanlon
Team Doctor: Andrew Delany
Team Physio: Michael Spillane
Team Masseuse: Mickey McGlynn
Team Operations: Mark MacNamee
Equipment Manager: John Crudden
Head of Delegation: Joe O'Brien
Media Officer: Gareth Maher

UEFA European Under-19 Championship - Group B
Monday, 15 July: Republic of Ireland v Norway, Yerevan Football Academy Stadium, KO 15:45 (Irish Time) - Live on RTÉ2
Thursday, 18 July: Republic of Ireland v France, Banats Stadium, Yerevan, KO 18:00 (Irish Time) - Live on RTÉ2
Sunday, 21 July: Republic of Ireland v Czech Republic, Yerevan Football Academy Stadium, KO 18:00 (Irish Time) - Live on RTÉ2