Tom Mohan’s Republic of Ireland U19 side go into Saturday’s UEFA European Under-19 Championships Elite Round match against Azerbaijan (kick-off 9am Irish time) at Kuban Stadium in Krasnodar, Russia, knowing that a second win could put them in a strong position to qualify for this year’s Finals Tournament in Armenia.
The Irish side recorded a comprehensive 5-0 win over Romania last Wednesday, while Azerbaijan earned a scoreless draw with Russia later the same day.
Mohan has revealed there is a clean bill of health in the Ireland camp, with only captain Aaron Bolger set to miss the game through suspension, after picking up a yellow card in the midweek win.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, the Ireland Head Coach admitted he learned a lot from Azerbaijan’s draw, stating:
“Any team in the Elite Round are going to be high-quality opponents. They were very well organised, and have a number of quality attacking players. They will be difficult opponents tomorrow.”
Mohan has said he hopes his players will concentrate on the task ahead on Saturday rather than looking too far ahead of themselves:
“When you come to the Elite Phase, the most important thing is to leave the team with a chance to qualify going into the final game. We can’t look too far ahead, and can only focus on tomorrow’s game. The players’ attitudes have been excellent this week. They’ve prepared well for tomorrow.”
Republic of Ireland Under-19 Squad
Goalkeepers: Brian Maher (St Patrick’s Athletic), George McMahon (Burnley).
Defenders: Andy Lyons (Bohemians), Tom Gaston (Bordeaux), Mark McGuinness (Arsenal), Oisín McEntee (Newcastle United), Jack James (Luton Town), Kameron Ledwidge (Southampton).
Midfielders: Niall Morahan (Sligo Rovers), Aaron Bolger (Shamrock Rovers), Jason Knight (Derby County), Luca Connell (Bolton Wanderers), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Conor Grant (Sheffield Wednesday), Richie O’Farrell (UCD).
Forwards: Ali Reghba (Bohemians), Will Ferry (Southampton), Festy Ebosele (Derby County), Tyriek Wright (Aston Villa), Jonathan Afolabi (Southampton).