BARRY McNamee has had the day to remember – first, the 21-year old Ramelton man was named as the Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month for April before learning of his inclusion in the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad.
McNamee pipped City team-mate Ger Doherty and St Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Greg Bolger to the award after hitting three goals in five games in April.
This afternoon, McNamee was named as the only uncapped and sole home-based player in a sixteen-man U21 squad to face Denmark in an international friendly in Fredericia Stadium, Fredericia, Denmark at 4pm (local time) on Friday May 31.
The game will form part of Ireland’s final preparations before the start of their UEFA EURO 2015 qualifying campaign on August 14, when they play the Faroe Islands in Torshavn.
He is joined in the squad by Carl McHugh, Shane Duffy and Sean McDermott, all either from Donegal or who have strong Donegal bloodlines. The Finn Harps goalkeeper, Ciaran Gallagher, has been invited to train with the Under 21 squad during their preparations for the game.
Inclusion in this squad is just a further feather in McNamee’s cap. He has been outstanding for City this season – and is looking to kick on.
“I thought that I would do well this season, but I certainly didn’t think it would go this well. But now, as a team, we have to push on and try to keep picking up positive results,” he said after collecting his award at the Brandywell.
“The club has done really well in the early part of the season and we want to keep that going. I suppose winning the Player of the Month is just recognition for how well the team has done.
“I’ve won awards before, like Player of the Year for my junior clubs, but nothing as big as this. But I don’t think this award is really about me, it’s about how well the team has done so far.”
McNamee spent a trial period with English Championship side Nottingham Forest before Christmas, and it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last bit of cross channel interest in the Derry ace.
For now though McNamee is focused on domestic affairs, with two of Derry’s next three games away from, beginning at Drogheda United on Friday night before a League Cup derby against Finn Harps on Monday