Waterford’s Jayson Molumby is part of the Irish team that will play at the RSC this week.
The Republic of Ireland will be looking to qualify for the next stage of the UEFA Under 19 European Championships in Waterford this week as Tom Mohan’s side face Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Serbia in a bid to reach the finals in Finland next year.
It will see a return to competitive International football to the RSC as all three of Ireland’s group games taken place at the home of Waterford FC with the other games in the group set to be played in Ferrycarrig Park, Wexford.
After Ireland played two International friendlies at the South-East venue against the Czech Republic recently, Mohan’s squad will include local interest as Waterford natives, Jayson Molumby and Lee O’Connor are joined by Waterford FC’s John Martin in the Irish squad for these games.
With Molumby, who was on the bench against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday and who played a recent starring role of Brighton and Hove Albion in the English League Cup, the Cappoquin man missed out on the friendly games through injury but Lee O’Connor, who is acquitting himself superbly at Manchester United, did play in the two games at right-back.
John Martin played in the second of Ireland’s games where he put in a polished performance and he’ll be hoping that he can figure in Mohan’s plans. The Irish will meet Azerbaijan tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3pm before hosting Cyprus on Saturday, October 7 at 7pm before the RSC hosts the meeting of the Irish and Serbia on Tuesday, October 10 with a 1pm kick-off.
With the local lads included in the squad, Republic of Ireland manager Tom Mohan expects great support once again. “Anytime we play in Waterford we’re well supported so with so many local lads playing we’ll be hoping the public comes out to support the lads.
“There’ll be three tough games but really our only focus is on Azerbaijan as they’re our first challenge. We’ve looked at a lot of their games and their squad is technically good and they have quick players. They’ve beaten Scotland and drew with Belgium in the past while so it’ll be very competitive.
“You’re main focus is qualifying but you just can’t look beyond first game. This is a good group of players and these lads were together for two games against the Czech Republic recently and did very well but we know there is still room for improvement.”
“A lot of the players are around first team level with their clubs so their individual confidence is high. We’re also pleased that we have six home-based players plus six players that could still play U-18 level this season so there’s a good mix in the squad.”
There was good news announced by the Football Association of Ireland ahead of these three games as Waterford FC season ticket holders and Waterford IT students will be permitted free entry to the three games, along with FAI Season Ticket holders.
The top two teams from each group progresses to the Elite Round, played in spring 2018, in seven mini-tournament groups of four. The group winners then join the hosts in the finals. Finland will host the final tournament from July 16 to 29 next summer.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U19 SQUAD: Mark Travers (Bournemouth – On Loan at Weymouth), Brian Maher (St Patrick’s Athletic), Tyreke Wilson (Manchester City), Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion – On loan at Hereford Utd), Canice Carroll (Oxford United), Warren O’Hora (Bohemians), Lee O’Connor (Manchester United), Jordan Doherty (Sheffield United), Daniel McKenna (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rian O’Sullivan (Brighton & Hove Albion – On loan at Worthing), Jayson Molumby (Brighton & Hove Albion), Aaron Bolger (Shamrock Rovers), Thomas O’Connor (Southampton), Kian Flanagan (Crystal Palace), Anthony Scully (West Ham United), Michael Obafemi (Southampton), John Martin (Waterford), Thomas Byrne (Drogheda United), Jonathan Afolabi (Southampton), Neil Farrugia (UCD).