Football | Eight domestic players included in Ireland U21 squad

Eight domestic players have been included in the Republic of Ireland U21 squad to face Luxembourg next week.

Stephen Kenny’s side face Luxembourg in their first UEFA U21 European Championships qualifier in Tallaght on March 24th.

Waterford pair Zach Elbouzedi and Aaron Drinan, Bohs duo Dan Mandroiu and Darragh Leahy, UCD’s Liam Scales and Neil Farrugia, Shamrock Rovers star Trevor Clarke, and St. Patrick’s Athletic midfielder Jamie Lennon have all been included in Kenny’s 22-man squad.

Seven of the eight – with the exception of Leahy – played in the U21’s 1-0 win over the FAI Amateur side in the former Dundalk manager’s first game in charge.

“There is no prejudice on who we select in terms of where they’re playing,” Stephen Kenny claimed today.

“I’ve based it on what I’ve seen with my own eyes.”

Spurs striker Troy Parrott has also been included in the squad, as has Norwich City forward Adam Idah.

17-year-old Parrott – an underage prodigy for club and country – is an injury doubt for the fixture after undergoing a recent procedure.“He’s a very talented player but he’s injured at the moment,” Kenny revealed. “He had a procedure on his toe, so there’d be a doubt about the game.

“Our medical team is in contact with Tottenham’s medical team and we’ll have to see how it goes.”

Parrott is regarded as one of Spurs’ top young players, and Kenny feels the teenager is ready to step up to U21 level, despite his tender age.

“I think he’s ready. I’m happy to promote the best young players through the age groups.”

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and former Shamrock Rovers (now Manchester City) shot stopper Gavin Bazunu will compete for a place between the posts.

Ipswich Town duo Corey Ndaba and Barry Cotter join the likes of Conor Masterson (Liverpool) and Lee O’Connor (Manchester United) in the defensive ranks, along with Exeter Town’s (on loan from West Bromwich Albion) Dara O’Shea.

Lennon and Mandriou are joined by West Ham’s Conor Coventry, Brighton’s Jayson Molumby, Wolves prospect Connor Ronan (on loan at FC DAC 1904), and Jake Doyle Hayes (on loan at Cambridge Town from Aston Villa) as Kenny’s midfield options.

Linfield’s Michael O’Connor is included among the strikers, as is Simon Power, who is currently on loan at FC Dordrecht from Norwich.

16 nations will qualify for the UEFA U21 European Championships, which will take place in Hungary and Slovakia in June 2021.

Republic of Ireland U21 squad v Luxembourg

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Manchester City)

Defenders: Darragh Leahy (Bohemians), Dara O’Shea (Exeter City, on loan from West Bromwich Albion), Barry Cotter (Ipswich Town), Corey Ndaba (Ipswich Town), Conor Masterson (Liverpool), Lee O’Connor (Manchester United), Trevor Clarke (Shamrock Rovers), Liam Scales (UCD AFC)

Jayson Molumby (Brighton and Hove Albion), Jake Doyle Hayes (Cambridge United, on loan from Aston Villa), Connor Ronan (FC DAC 1904, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers), Jamie Lennon (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Dan Mandroiu (Bohemians) 

Attackers: Adam Idah (Norwich City), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Neil Farrugia (UCD AFC), Zach Elbouzedi (Waterford), Michael O’Connor (Linfield), Simon Power (FC Dordrecht, on loan from Norwich City)