PREVIEW | U17 EURO | Poland v Ireland
Head Coach Colin O'Brien confirmed his squad last week with 18 of the 20-man squad from the EA SPORTS LOI Academy.
It is the fourth time O’Brien has led an Irish team to the European Championships and it’s Ireland’s first appearance since 2019 when they hosted the tournament.
The MU17s were drawn in Group A with their opening game coming against Poland followed by Wales (Saturday, May 20) before their final group game against hosts Hungary (Tuesday, May 23).
Ireland will be based in Budapest for the tournament and come into the competition in good form. This season they have defeated the Netherlands in a friendly via a penalty shootout and came through Round One of qualifiers with a win over Armenia and draws against Belarus and Norway. In the Elite Phase they drew with Italy before beating Ukraine.
It set up a must-win clash with hosts Cyprus with Ireland securing a 3-2 win thanks to Nickson Oksoun’s 96th-minute winner – a goal that sent them to the finals.
The 2023 edition of the U17 EUROs has an added incentive with five spots for the U17 World Cup available. These will go to the four semi-finalists as well as the winner of a play-off between two of the beaten quarter-finalists who hold the best group stage record.
Fixture: Poland MU17 v Ireland MU17
Date: Wednesday, May 17
KO time: 3.30pm (Irish time)
Stadium: Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium, Budapest
Where to watch: RTÉ News Channel & RTÉPlayer
Referee: Atilla Karaoglan (Turkey)
Assistant: Mehmet Emin Tugral (Turkey)
Assistant: Kyriakos Sokratous (Cyprus)
Fourth Official: David Dickinson (Scotland)
Latest team news: Mason Melia and Romeo Akachukwu joined up with the squad over the weekend having featured for their clubs last Friday night. Melia came on a substitute for St. Patrick's Athletic in the 3-0 win over Drogheda United, becoming the youngest player to make a league appearance for the club.
Ticket news: Tickets for the game and the remaining tournament fixtures can be purchases here TICKETS
Ireland Men's Under-17 Head Coach Colin O'Brien said: "The Irish fans will definitely see a group of players who are proud to play for their country. They'll bring that passion, you can say it is in our DNA as Irish people, but it's so important that's instilled in our players and believe me it is across all our international teams. There's a real togetherness within the squad and I believe, and my staff believe, we have a quality throughout the team but it will be a huge group effort once you go into a tournament and I've no doubt the nation will get behind them."
Ireland Men's Under-17 forward Nickson Okosun said: "All the boys are really excited not everyone gets to play in a finals competition, especially for your country. We're all really excited and can't wait to get out onto the pitch.None of us are taking this for granted we all wanted to give this a shot. For me and my family it's a proud moment."
Ireland Under-17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Joe Collins (Bohemians), Jason Healy (Waterford)
Defenders: Stanley Ashbee (Hull City), Daniel Babb (UCD), Jake Grante (Crystal Palace), Kaylem Harnett (Wexford FC), Cory O’Sullivan (Shamrock Rovers), Ade Solanke (Shamrock Rovers)
Midfielders: Romeo Akachukwu (Waterford), Rhys Bartley (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Luke Kehir (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Matthew Moore (Cork City), Danny McGrath (Bohemians), Taylor Mooney (Bohemians), Freddie Turley (Shamrock Rovers)
Forwards: Mason Melia (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Matthew Murray (Cork City), Ike Orazi (Shamrock Rovers), Nickson Oksoun (Bohemians), Naj Razi (Shamrock Rovers)