The Opposition: A look at the Ireland Under 19 squad (Part 1)

Ahead of Gibraltar Under 19’s international against the Republic of Ireland Under 19’s, the blog has a look at the team that Gibraltar have been tasked with trying to beat.

Ian Lawlor (Manchester City, GK): https://twitter.com/Ianlawlor

18 year old Lawlor was previously at the renowned Home Farm football club before moving to the Citizens, where he plays at both Under 18 and Under 21 level.  Lawlor has also played for City in the NextGen series, and the 6′ 4” keeper should provide a formidable last line of defence for the Irish.

http://www.mcfc.co.uk/citytv/interviews/2013/one-to-watch-ian-lawlor (Man City feature on Lawlor)

Danny Rogers (Aberdeen, GK): https://twitter.com/DannyRogers7

American-born Rogers is currently backup to Ian Lawlor for the Irish under 19’s, but don’t be surprised to see him get minutes as Irish head coach Paul Doolin presumably looks to give all of his team vital minutes to prove themselves at international level.  Rogers is already part of the Aberdeen first team in the SPL, and in the next few years could realistically make the number 1 shirt his own for the Dons.

Shane Fagan (Stoke City, GK):

Recently signed to Stoke City from Coventry, 18 year old Fagan is a new addition to the Irish under 19 set up, having previously represented his country at Under 17 level.  A ligament injury in 2011 slowed his development, but it is still clear to see that Fagan is progressing in the right direction footballing wise.  Fagan is one of a number of Irish players to have spent part of his formative football years at Cherry Orchard.

Steven Smith (Leicester City, Defender): No Twitter account

Formerly of Arsenal, the versatile Leicester defender, currently on loan at Conference National side Braintree Town has been a regular for the Foxes Under 21 side, and has represented the Irish from Under 16 level.  Can play in either defence or midfield.

Kyle McFadden (Norwich, Defender): https://twitter.com/KyleMc4

17 year old McFadden describes himself in an interview with Norwich’s official website as: “a hard centre-back, a good leader in defence who gets in a few big tackles, and l also like to play a bit of football if I can too.” and those qualities helped him win the FAI Under 17 International Player of the Year award in 2011.  He is a regular in the Norwich Under 18 defence, as well as making a few appearances at Under 21 level, and that experience will be on show in the heart of Ireland’s defence.

http://www.canaries.co.uk/news/article/kyle-callan-mcfadden-400029.aspx?pageView=full#anchored (Interview with McFadden)

Pierce Sweeney (Reading, Defender): https://twitter.com/PierceSweeney1

The first of three Reading defenders involved in the Irish selection, 18 year old Sweeney joined Reading last summer, after starring for Bray Wanderers in the Irish league.  A schools international in the 11/12 season, Sweeney has quickly made the step up to Under 19 level, and is highly regarded by the coaching staff at Reading.

Sean Long (Reading, Defender): https://twitter.com/SeanieLongg

Signed at the same time as Sweeney, Long previously played his football at Cherry Orchard.  Having made the step up from Under 17 level, Long will be looking to stake his place at Under 19 level, and should see game time on Friday night.

Shane Griffin: (Reading, Defender): https://twitter.com/Shane_Griff

Cork born Griffin has played twice for Ireland’s under 19’s this season, although he had the misfortune of scoring an own goal in a 1-1 draw with Latvia.  Also a summer signing for the Royals, the 18 year old has played for Reading at both Under 18 and Under 21 level, after emerging as a footballer at Carrigaline United.

Sean Kavanagh (Fulham, Defender): No Twitter Account

19 year old Kavanagh joined Fulham on transfer deadline day in September 2011, and was considered to be one of the stand-out stars of the 2011/12 Fulham youth season.  Currently in the Under 21 squad, Kavanagh is described by the official Fulham website as being: “one of the Club’s brightest prospects.”  Kavanagh is a product of Belvedere FC, who nurtured talents such as Wes Hoolahan, Keith Treacy and Stephen Kelly.

Jack Doherty (Waterford United, Midfielder): https://twitter.com/jackdoc11

One of only two of the Irish squad to play his football in Ireland, 18 year old Doherty has made a handful of appearances at the Irish second tier club, making himself a fan favourite in the process.  Doherty, a left winger, will be looking to games like Friday’s, as well as the upcoming Under 19 qualifiers to both establish himself as an Under 19 international, and perhaps attract the eye of scouts from England.

Kealan Dillon (Hull City, Midfielder): https://twitter.com/KealanDillon

One of the more senior players in the Irish squad, 19 year old Dillon was also a product of Belvedere FC, before spells with Derby County, and currently Hull City.  A versatile midfielder, who can also play up front, Dillon has played five times at Under 19 level, and will be looking to make the step up to Under 21 level in the near future, as well as try and break through into the Tigers first team.

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