Preparations on track for Under-17 UEFA Elite qualifiers

Preparations on track for Under-17 UEFA Elite qualifiers

The Republic of Ireland Under-17's will play their first of three matches in the UEFA elite phase qualifiers on Friday against mini-group hosts Greece (11.30am local time).
18th Mar 2010
The Republic of Ireland Under-17's will play their first of three matches in the UEFA elite phase qualifiers tomorrow against mini-group hosts Greece (11.30am local time). Sean McCaffrey's side will also face Finland on Sunday and Austria next Wednesday hoping to win the group and advance to the European Championship finals in Liechtenstein in May.

 

Sean McCaffrey's side will also face Finland on Sunday and Austria next Wednesday hoping to win the group and advance to the European Championship finals in Liechtenstein in May.

 

Only the victor of each of the seven groups is guaranteed a place at the showpiece though following the withdrawal of tournament hosts Liechtenstein there will now be an additional place for the best second-placed team from across the pools.

 

 

McCaffrey is delighted to have all of his originally selected squad with him in Greece as they plot a pathway to the UEFA finals.

 

 

The 18-player panel arrived at their base in Greece on Monday night and held their first training workout on Tuesday. Wednesday saw them undertake a double-session and McCaffrey is delighted with the desire and commitment demonstrated thus far by his charges.

 

 

"The players are in very positive mood about the task ahead in these three matches and their concentration levels in training have been first-class," he said.

 

 

"I'm more than happy with the preparations this week. The hotel and training facilities are excellent and we've had no withdrawals from the squad, a major plus going into the first match."

 

 

David Murphy (knee), Carl McHugh and Michael Barker (both ankle) took only a limited role in Wednesday's training session on medical advice but are expected to be fit for Friday.

 

 

McCaffrey said: "Our physiotherapist Philip Phelan and Team Doctor John Chute have been working this week to heal any knocks experienced by the players and I'm thankful for their assistance in ensuring the squad are in the right condition."

 

 

The Irish boss explained that he expects Greece to go all-out for victory in their duel at the Kato Achaia Municipal Stadium on Friday.

 

 

He said: "Greece are a well-organised side with a tremendous work ethic about them. They may favour the first-half turning into a battle but once we match them for hunger and, most importantly, discipline, I'd be confident that our technically astute players can cause their defence trouble.

 

 

"It's vital that we retain possession. I'm glad that the game is being played in the morning-time, as the heat is unlikely to be a factor, but we need to work to our strength which is getting the ball moving and having a go at them in attack."

 

UEFA Under-17 Elite Stage qualifiers - Group 3:

Friday March 19 2010
Republic of Ireland v Greece (kick off 11.30 local time)
Austria v Finland

Sunday March 21 2010
Finland v Republic of Ireland (kick off 15.00 local time)
Greece v Austria

Wednesday March 24 2010
Republic of Ireland v Austria (kick off 11.30 local time)
Greece v Finland

 

Republic of Ireland Under-17 squad:

Sean McDermott - Arsenal
Alan Smith - Crumlin United

Michael Barker - Belvedere
Richard Bryan - Aston Villa
Sean McGinty - Manchester United
Michael Keane - Manchester United
Derrick Williams - Aston Villa
Neil Yadolahi - Burnley

Kevin Knight - Leicester City
Carl McHugh - Reading
George Smith - Southend United
Frankie Sutherland - QPR
Shane Byrne - Leicester City
Anton Rodgers - Chelsea
Sean Murray - Watford

David Murphy - Reading
Aiden O'Brien - Millwall
Daniel Purdy - West Ham United