U19 squad named for UEFA first phase qualifiers
Republic of Ireland Under-19 head coach Paul Doolin has named his squad for the upcoming UEFA Championship first phase qualifiers in Bulgaria.
Ireland will face mini-groups hosts Bulgaria, Russia and Bosnia Herzegovina from October 6-11, with the top two of the four nations progressing to the elite qualifying phase. This season's finals will be hosted by Estonia in July 2012.
Doolin's squad open their campaign against Bulgaria on Thursday, October 6 (3pm) before meeting Bosnia Herzegovina two days later, on Saturday October 8 (2pm). The group's top seeds, Russia, will meet the Irish in the concluding fixture on October 11 (3pm).
The prospects of the squad advancing will be helped by the presence of 7 members of last season's squad which featured at the finals tournament in July staged in Romania.
In addition, Doolin has included a number of players that impressed during the double-header friendlies against Serbia and Slovakia in August and September respectively.
"It wasn't an easy task to decide on the final selection, particularly being allowed only 16 outfield players for the three matches, but I feel the balance to the squad is right," he said.
"Even in this first stage, none of our opponents in the group could be considered weak nations. The priority for us, though, is the first game against Bulgaria. Picking up a result in the game against the host nation will be difficult but important to our chances of qualifying for the next phase."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U-19 SQUAD
Sean McDermott (Arsenal)
Alan Smith (Rangers)
Thomas Hoban (Watford)
Conor Morrissey (Trieste)
Derrick Williams (Aston Villa)
Carl McHugh (Reading - on loan with Dundalk)
Neil Byrne (Nottingham Forest)
Bradley Garmston (West Bromwich Albion)
Paul George (Celtic)
Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa)
Graham Burke (Aston Villa)
Anthony Forde (Wolves)
Sean Murray (Watford)
John O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers)
Aiden O'Brien (Millwall)
George Smith (Southend United)
Connor Smith (Watford).