U17s ready for opening game at UEFA qualifiers
U17s ready for opening game in UEFA Championships qualifying tournament
TOM MOHAN’S Republic of Ireland Under-17 team begin their UEFA Championships qualifying campaign tomorrow with a meeting with Sweden in Kumanovo in FYR Macedonia (2.00pm Irish).
The Irish go into the Group 10 encounter at the Bashkimi Stadium looking to get off to a solid start and build on recent friendly victories over Azerbaijan in Castlebar.
This fixture will be Mohan’s first competitive game since succeeding John Morling with the Irish U17 side.
Liverpool winger Alex O'Hanlon is confident Ireland can get off to a good start against the Swedes.
“We'd be confident of doing well in these games. We have to prepare right and make sure we don't leave anything to chance,” said O’Hanlon.
“The sun and heat will cause us problems. The afternoon kick-offs will be energy sapping so we have to adapt to that.
“We've watched a few DVDs of Swedens games this season. They are good going forward so our tactics against them will be very important.”
Aston Villa defender Robin Dempsey believes the week of preparation at Brentford FC ahead of the trip to Macedonia will stand in Ireland’s favour.
“Preparation has been good. The few days we had in London went well, the pitches and facilities at Brentford were excellent so we were able to get a lot of work done,” said Dempsey.
“We have a quality squad here and the spirit and atmosphere around the place is great.
“Tom went to see Sweden play against Scotland a couple of weeks ago. We have an idea of how they will set up to play against us. We have been working on our shape and set pieces in meetings and training.”
Ireland’s U17 fixtures this week:
UEFA European U17 Championship
Qualifying Round Group 10
Saturday, September 29
Republic of Ireland v Sweden, Bashkimi Stadium, Kumanovo (MKD) (2.00pm Irish time)
Monday, October 1
Republic of Ireland v Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski, Skopje (MKD) (2.00pm Irish time)
Thursday, October 4
Romania v Republic of Ireland, Bashkimi Stadium, Kumanovo (MKD) (2.00pm Irish time)