A home-based Ireland Under-18 squad will play a friendly International against Malta this Sunday (August 6th) at Dalymount Park (7pm).
The 18-man panel is comprised of players currently playing their football within schoolboy leagues around the country and the eircom Under-21 league.
FAI Player Development Manager John Morling will take charge of the team pre-match training, as Under-18 manager Sean McCaffrey is presently in Hungary with the Under 17 squad International squad.
The are no competitive International fixtures at Under-18 level. Therefore, the opportunity is available for players on the fringes of previous International panels to stake a claim for recognition ahead of next year‚Äôs UEFA Under-19 qualifying series.
Morling explained the importance of arranging the fixture against Malta: ‚ÄúThis is a full International and for most of the squad, it will be their first Irish cap‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúAll 18 players have been selected on merit, based on assessments of their training and match performance. Most of the lads were involved in the association‚Äôs ‚ÄėEmerging talent programme‚Äô, which was piloted in three Regional centres around the country last season.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúHistory has shown that some players develop later than others and we want to give chances to players who weren‚Äôt previously in the reckoning but have since developed technically and most importantly, physically.‚ÄĚ
Morling added: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a great opportunity for this squad to further develop their careers at whichever level they deem suitable. That pathway could be in Junior football, the eircom league or even abroad.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúA total of 29 players from this particular age-group (born 1989) are with professional clubs in Britain but there still remains plenty of quality talent playing here in Ireland.‚ÄĚ
Under-18 Friendly Match
Sunday, August 6th
Republic of Ireland v Malta
Dalymount Park, 7pm
IRELAND UNDER-18 SQUAD
Kevin O‚ÄôBrien Douglas Hall
Ger Barron Geraldines, Limerick
Alan Clarke Belvedere
Noel Haverty St. Patrick‚Äôs Athletic
David Kelly Belvedere
Sean Byrne Belvedere
Derek Foran St. Patrick‚Äôs Athletic
Ian Bermingham Lourdes Celtic
Tom King Castlebar Celtic
Stephen Lawless Cherry Orchard
Cian McBrien Salthill Devon
Kieran O`Reilly Lourdes Celtic
Garry O`Toole Wembley Rovers
Jamie Duff St. Joseph`s Boys
Emeka Onwubiko St. Kevin‚Äôs Boys
David Connolly Belvedere
Daniel Corcoran Belvedere
Conor Murtagh Drogheda Boys