Shamrock Rovers' Dean Dillon in action for the senior side against Finn Harps in March.

Eight home-based players named in under-18 squad for Slovakia Cup
Published: April 20, 2017

Republic of Ireland under-18 coach Jim Crawford has named eight SSE Airtricity League of Ireland players in his 18-man squad for the Slovakia Cup later this month.


Ireland have been drawn in a group alongside Russia, Czech Republic and Turkey for the eight-team tournament that will take place between Monday, April 24th to Friday, April 28th.


Crawford was unable to call on the majority of the players selected by under-19 coach Tom Mohan for last month's elite qualifying group in which Ireland missed out to Sweden on head-to-head.


Shamrock Rovers pair Trevor Clarke and Michael O'Connor featured in Belgium, with Clarke starting all three games as Mohan's side beat Italy and the hosts but lost heavily to the Swedes.


That's given opportunities to a number of players plying their trade in the under-19 national league, with Sligo Rovers best-represented with Edward McGinty and Jack Keaney named.


Bohemians under-19 captain Warren O'Hora joins Cork City's Alec Byrne, Cobh Ramblers' James McSweeney, St Patrick's Athletic's Aidan Keena, Drogheda United's Thomas Byrne and Shamrock Rovers' Dean Dillon.


There are also call-ups for overseas-based players such as Bournemouth's former Rovers goalkeeper Mark Travers, Stoke City's Shola Ayoola and Southampton pair Aaron O'Driscoll and Michael Obafemi.


"We’ll see if these players are up to international level but it’s also an opportunity for themselves as players to learn a lot and use this as a barometer of where they’re at," Crawford told the FAI's website.


"Then they should see if they can bring that back to their clubs and make further progres as a player and help their overall development.


"The quality of the opposition will be very high. We’ve done our research on them and we know that the Czech Republic, Russia and Turkey are all excellent sides at this age group."



Republic of Ireland under-18 squad:


Goalkeepers: Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Edward McGinty (Sligo Rovers)
Defenders: Alec Byrne (Cork City), Aaron O’Driscoll (Southampton), Warren O’Hora (Bohemians), James McSweeney (Cobh Ramblers), Rian O’Sullivan (Brighton & Hove Albion), Callum Mollett (Walsall)
Midfielders: Anthony Scully (West Ham United), Dan McKenna (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Jack Keaney (Sligo Rovers), Callum Nicell (Leeds United), Stephen Mallon (Sheffield United)
Forwards: Aidan Keena (St Patrick's Athletic), Kian Flanagan (Crystal Palace), Dean Dillon (Shamrock Rovers), Michael Obafemi (Southampton), Thomas Byrne (Drogheda United), Shola Ayoola (Stoke City)



Monday, April 24: Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland, Modranka (KO 14:00)
Tuesday, April 25: Republic of Ireland v Russia, Dunajska Luzna (KO 10:00)
Thursday, April 27: Republic of Ireland v Turkey, Dunajska Luzna (KO 10:00)
Friday, April 28: Classification match, TBC

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Dave Donnelly

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