The Republic of Ireland U17 squad for the Mexico double-header has been announced, with a 20-man squad chosen to represent the country in the two games.
The two games against Mexico will both take place at Turner’s Cross in Cork with the first game scheduled for Sunday, September 5.
The second game will be played two days later on Tuesday, September 7 – squad rotations are likely.
It will be the final two games for the U17s before the first round of UEFA Under-17 European Championship qualifiers which also take place in Cork in October.
600 fans each will be able to see the Mexico games live before the side start their qualification campaign.
Colin O’Brien’s youngsters face North Macedonia, Poland and Andorra in the first round of qualifiers.
Speaking ahead of the games against Mexico, O’Brien said: “To get this level of opposition is a real huge plus for us. Mexico is a real powerhouse at this age group if you research and examine their age groups in the past couple of years they’re a World Cup standard team and that will the standard over the two games we will be playing.
“It’s a very ‘home-based squad’ and it’s the first squad we’re going to see around the Brexit situation but the players are well into their season and we’ve done a lot of home-based assessments and training camps over the last few months and a lot of games watched.”
17 of the players called up by O’Brien play for clubs on the island of Ireland, including League of Ireland sides.
Three players play abroad – midfielder Rocco Vata is in Celtic’s youth system while forwards Caden McLoughlin and Kevin Zefi line out in Villarreal and Inter Milan’s colours respectively.
“We’ve 20 players ready to represent the Republic of Ireland Under-17s against high-level opposition so the players are going to be really tested here, both collectively and individually, and it will give them a good measure to where they’re at.”
Republic of Ireland Under-17 Squad
Goalkeepers: Fintan Doherty (Derry City), Conor Walsh (Sligo Rovers)
Defenders: Luke Browne (Shelbourne), Sam Curtis (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Cathal Heffernan (Cork City), Ruadhan Kane (Klub Kildare), Daniel Kelly (Sligo Rovers), Luke O’Brien (St. Patrick’s Athletic)
Midfielders: Justin Ferizaj (Shamrock Rovers), Gavin Hodgins (Shelbourne), Darius Lipsivc (St. Patrick’s Athletic), James McManus (Bohemians), Rocco Vata (Celtic)
Forwards: Trent Kone Doherty (Derry City), Mark O’Mahony (Cork City), Caden McLoughlin (Villareal), Liam Murray (Cork City), Alex Nolan (Shelbourne), Franco Umeh (Cork City), Kevin Zefi (Inter Milan)
Fixtures – International Friendlies (all times are Irish times)
Sunday, September 5 | Republic of Ireland U17 v Mexico U17, Turner’s Cross, Cork, KO: 7 pm
Tuesday, September 7 | Republic of Ireland U17 v Mexico U17, Turner’s Cross, Cork KO: 12 pm