MU17 | O'Brien names squad for Elite Phase
O’Brien’s side have travelled to Portugal and take on the hosts on Wednesday, followed by Finland on Saturday and Bulgaria on Tuesday, March 29.
There’s a first call-up for Tottenham Hotspur forward Thomas Bloxham with Cathal Heffernan and Kevin Zefi returning to the squad after missing the friendlies against Belgium in Marbella last month.
Speaking ahead of the qualifiers, Colin O’Brien said: "Our objective at the start of the season was at a minimum to get to the Elite Phase and we’ve achieved that. They (the players) know that possible outcome of the Elite Phase is place in the European Finals in Israel in May. That’s what’s at stake now and it will be a great challenge for us all.
“The players are very ambitious. There are some strong individuals in this team but we have a really strong team dynamic - we’d be big on that.”
Republic of Ireland Men's Under-17 squad
Goalkeepers: Fintan Doherty (Derry City), Conor Walsh (Sligo Rovers)
Defenders: Sam Curtis (St. Patrick's Athletic), Cathal Heffernan (AC Milan), Dan McHale (UCD), Sean McHale (St. Patrick's Athletic), Luke O'Brien (St. Patrick's Athletic), Ivan Savshak (Honved Budapest)
Midfielders: Justin Ferizaj (Shamrock Rovers), Darius Lipsiuc (St. Patrick's Athletic), James McManus (Bohemians), Senan Mullen (Dundalk), Adam Murphy (St. Patrick's Athletic), Rocco Vata (Celtic)
Forwards: Thomas Bloxham (Tottenham Hotspur), Caden McLoughlin (Villarreal), Mark O'Mahony (Cork City), Gideon Tetteh (Shamrock Rovers), Franco Umeh (Cork City), Kevin Zefi (inter Milan)
UEFA Under-17 European Championship Elite Phase Qualifiers (all times are Irish time)
Wednesday, March 23 | Portugal MU17 v Republic of Ireland MU17, Fontelo Municipal, Viseu, Portugal, KO 3pm (Live on FAITV YouTube)
Saturday, March 26 | Republic of Ireland MU17 v Finland MU17, Parque Desportivo Sant'Ana, Penalva Castelo, Portugal, KO 11am
Tuesday, March 29 | Republic of Ireland MU17 v Bulgaria MU17, Municipal, Santa Comba Dao, Portugal, KO 3pm