David Wilson reporting from the Showgrounds in Sligo for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation.
The international break allowed the chance for Tom Mohan and his managerial team to prepare his under-19 team for next month’s first European championship qualifying phase.
Two games took place on the west coast as Denmark travelled to Sligo for a training week combined with two friendly internationals which took place last Friday and Monday at the Showgrounds, the home of Sligo Rovers.
Friday night’s game saw Shercock native Oisin McEntee captain the side, as Mohan got a chance to see his side integrate some new players into the squad for the first time.
The Danes have become an all to familiar sight for Ireland at senior level, however their under-19 side boasts a range of talented players who ply their trade at major Scandinavian clubs such as FC Copenhagen, Brondby IF and FC Midtjylland as well as English clubs Wolves and Brentford.
A spirited performance in the first game saw the home side defeated by one goal to nil as Ahmed Daghim tapped in from close range. The second game took place in a rain-soaked pitch on Monday afternoon where Ireland were defeated by two goals to nil.
Results were not the most important element for the group. A squad of 27 players were called up which gave the chance for Mohan and his backroom staff to impose their style of play on the players as well as taking a closer look at some players who are new to the set-up.
Conor Noß, a player who has appeared for the first team at Bundesliga table-toppers Borussia Mönchengladbach was one of several new exciting players available to Mohan. Harvey Neville, son of Phil, qualifies for Ireland through his grandmother and has played in both the Valencia and Manchester United academies was an intriguing inclusion to the squad.
The League of Ireland was also represented as Sean Bohan, Ross Tierney, Dawson Devoy (all Bohemians), Donal Higgins (Galway United), Ronan Boyce (Derry City) and Thomas Oluwa (Shamrock Rovers) also linked up with the squad during the week.
Speaking after Monday’s game Mohan was disappointed with how the results went but enthused with some aspects of the performances over the two games: “It’s been great, it’s important to see as many players as we have.”
Mohan added, “The important thing was to get a look at the players over the last few days in the games but also in training with a view to the European qualifiers which take place in November.”
The squad will meet in November for tough European Championship Qualifiers against Switzerland, Austria and Gibraltar where they will hope to complete their first stage in qualifying for the under-19 European Championships which take place in Northern Ireland.
Republic of Ireland Under-19 Squad
Goalkeepers: Sean Bohan (Bohemians), Jimmy Corcoran (Preston North End), Bobby Jones (Wigan Athletic)
Defenders: Ronan Boyce (Derry City), Ben Greenwood (AFC Bournemouth), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness (Arsenal), Mazeed Ogungbo (Arsenal), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City), Lewis Richards (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Timi Sobowale (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jamie Bowden (Tottenham Hotspur), Barry Coffey (Celtic), Dawson Devoy (Bohemians), Donal Higgins (Galway United), Conor Grant (Sheffield Wednesday), Harvey Neville (Manchester United), Armstrong Oko-Flex (Celtic), Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa)
Forwards: Tom Cannon (Everton), Ryan Cassidy (Watford), Festy Ebosele (Derby County), Alex Gilbert (West Bromwich Albion), Conor Noß (Borussia Monchengladbach), George Nunn (Chelsea), Thomas Oluwa (Shamrock Rovers), Ross Tierney (Bohemians)