Irish U17s ready for opening UEFA Elite Qualifying Round tie

Irish U17s ready for opening UEFA Elite Qualifying Round tie

THE Republic of Ireland U17 side play their opening game in the UEFA U17 Championships Elite Qualifying Round against host side Serbia in Stara Pazova tomorrow afternoon (2pm Irish).
25th Mar 2014

THE Republic of Ireland U17 side play their opening game in the UEFA U17 Championships Elite Qualifying Round against host side Serbia in Stara Pazova tomorrow afternoon (2pm Irish).

Tom Mohan's side know that a good start is vital is they are to emerge from a testing group that also includes Germany and Georgia – with just one spot in the finals available.

"Everybody is in good form. Our preparation has gone well. We had two days at Reading FC before we came to Serbia and that went very well," said Mohan.

"We've been looked after well here at the Serbian FA sports centre which is a fantastic facility so we are ready for the first test tomorrow.

"The players and all of the staff here have put in a lot of work and now it's game time. We have to deliver the goods now. There's a good spirit in the camp. We can't wait for the first game. It's always the one the lads look forward to it for so long."

Mohan has no doubt about the quality of the Serbian opposition but believes that his side showed great resilience in their recent friendlies against Austria in Dublin and that their competitive mentality can be an asset for his Irish squad.

"Serbia are a good side and in a recent friendly they beat Poland 4-1. They have good quality players high up the pitch with a couple of decent front men. They'll be a threat but we can't give them too much respect," he said.

"We've got good confidence in our side. We defended well in the two games against a strong Austrian side and we'll be going into this game in a positive frame of mind.

"There'll be several tests thrown at us but it's great to know we have players with that character who'll not say die until the last whistle. If you look at the Austria games we kept going and got to grips with them then went on to create the bulk of the chances.

"There's good balance in the squad – players who can play in various positions which is important. Everybody has worked hard and now we can't wait for the game to start."

Republic of Ireland U17 squad:
Evan Moran (West Bromwich Albion)
Matthew Connor (Waterford United)
Robin Walsh (Anderlecht)
Anto Breslin (Wolves)
Danny Kane (Huddersfield Town)
Robbie McCourt (St Kevins Boys)
Anto Dolan (Fulham)
Georgie Poynton (Dundalk)
Adam McDonnell (Shelbourne)
Tom Holland (Manchester City)
Shane Elworthy (Fulham)
Steven Kinsella (Templeogue United)
Conor Masterson (Lucan United)
Corey Whelan (Liverpool)
Stephen Best (Crumlin United)
Nathan Corkey (QPR)
Jesse Devers (Wolves)
Robbie Duggan (Peterborough United)

FIXTURES

26 March 2014
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 5
Serbia v Republic of Ireland, Stara Pazova (SRB) (2.00pm Irish)

28 March 2014
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 5
Germany v Republic of Ireland, FK Obilić, Belgrade (SRB) (2.00pm Irish)

31 March 2014
UEFA U17 Championship Elite Round Group 5
Republic of Ireland v Georgia, FK Obilić, Belgrade (SRB) (2.00pm Irish)