Irish U17 captain relishes Hungarian battle

Irish U17 captain relishes Hungarian battle

The Republic of Ireland U17 side step up their preparations for the UEFA Championship, elite qualifying phase this week with a double international friendly versus Hungary to be played in Tolka Park and Bray on February 9th and 11th respectively.
7th Feb 2010

The Republic of Ireland U17 side step up their preparations for the UEFA Championship, elite qualifying phase this week with a double international friendly versus Hungary to be played in Tolka Park and Bray on February 9th and 11th respectively.



Manchester United's Sean McGinty (pictured right) who captains Sean McCaffrey's side has pointed to the fixtures as a key preparatory tool for their UEFA elite qualifying campaign which takes place in Greece from March 19th -24th where they will face Austria, Finland and tournament hosts, Greece for a place in the UEFA championship finals.



The imposing central defender said, "Although these games are friendlies, they will hold the key to our plans for our UEFA championship qualifying campaign in March. The squad has not been together since we qualified from the 1st phase in September so it is vital that the squad come in, gel and play well together. At my club, there are players from different countries in the same competition who have had friendlies and training camps already so we will have to make the most of these two games."



"There are a number of new players in the squad but after our first training session in Dublin today, (Sunday) the team is looking very good and those new players are fitting in already. We have no doubts about the quality of the Hungary side we face. They easily topped their first qualifying phase group also and they will have ambitions of their own to qualify for the finals next summer so I think that the games will be very interesting for both sides. Getting positive results for these games is not vital but if we can perform well as a team and work well with our tactics, I think we will be satisfied."



McGinty, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2009 from Charlton Athletic, has excelled in his position at centre half for the Red Devils youth side, "So far, we are having an excellent season at club level. At the moment we are second in the league even though we have had a couple of bad results recently including a FA Youth Cup defeat to Blackburn. However, it is always nice to come away on international duty and it is always an honour to represent your country as captain," he added.


The Irish booked their place in the elite phase by finishing top of their first section group in September, courtesy of victories over Bulgaria and Latvia coupled with a scoreless draw in the last match against fellow qualifiers Sweden.


Under-17 International Friendlies:

Tuesday February 9 (19.30hrs)
Republic of Ireland v Hungary
Tolka Park, Dublin


Thursday February 11 (19.30hrs)
Republic of Ireland v Hungary
Carlisle Grounds, Bray


Admission
Adults: €5
Children U16: €2


A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for schoolboy/girl clubs by contacting info@fai.ie