BY CHRIS MCNULTY
LETTERKENNY lad Ryan McConnell and Ramelton native Kyle Callan-McFadden have been called up to the Republic of Ireland Under 19 squad for a double international friendly next week.
The pair have been included in an 18-man squad named by manager Paul Doolin for the games against Norway on Tuesday and Thursday,
17-year old defender McConnell is on the books of Manchester United. Having impressed in a tournament with the Red Devils in late 2011, he signed a contract at Old Trafford – and moved to Manchester last summer.
McConnell, who plyed his youth trade with Letterkenny Rovers, primarily plays as a full-back and competed with the club in last year’s Milk Cup. McConnell has played for the United Under 18s and is certain to get more involvement this season.
McConnell could be joined in the Irish defence by Callan-McFadden, an 18-year old former Swilly Rovers conscript. Callan-McFadden is now entering his third season with Norwich City, on the back of their FA Youth Cup win over Chelsea last season. The former FAI Under-16 Player of the Year is a highly-rated young player at Carrow Road and next week’s internationals give him the chance to further develop.
For Irish manager Doolin, things have been progressing well. The U19s went on a ten-game unbeaten run last season and only missed out on a place at the finals tournament after being held to a scoreless draw by eventual winners Serbia in the elite qualifying round.
”Last year’s campaign when you go unbeaten in ten games and then see Serbia winning the UEFA U19s after we drew with them it has to be encouraging,” said Doolin.
”We’ve a few guys in this year’s squad who played last year. Not to lose in ten internationals was fantastic.
”It’s a start of another campaign for us. The U19s is about getting results so we’re hoping we’ll get a good squad and good group mentality. Unfortunately you may not have a squad for very long depending on the first phase so it’s important you get off to a good start.”
Doolin worked with several of the latest crop of players in two under-18 friendlies against Switzerland last year but has drafted in some new faces for the campaign ahead.
He said: “We had a look at a lot of the lads last year against Switzerland last year. The important thing is to get a squad together that will get us out of the group in October.”
The Republic of Ireland Under 19s take on Norwat on Tuesday at 7pm in the Carlisle Grounds, Bray before meeting Norway again on Thursday at 1pm at the UCD Bowl.
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