It has been a long, but enjoyable year for Ireland U21 Andy Lyons.
This weekend, Bohemians and Ireland U21’s Andy Lyons will be hoping to cap off a fine year at the Aviva Stadium in the FAI Cup final.
Lyons, while already prominent at home, has continued to make a name for himself at international level with the Ireland U21s under Jim Crawford, amid a long, yet enjoyable year.
Now 21, the marauding full-back has made over 50 league appearances for Bohs since his debut in 2018, while also combining a flourishing career for the Boys in Green at underage level.
Andy Lyons on Bohemians & Ireland U21 duty.
“It’s been it’s been a bit crazy,” Lyons told Pundit Arena of his last couple of weeks juggling club, and international football.
“The last few weeks, and the year in itself. The international campaign is something that has been happening throughout the year with the league. There was then the FAI Cup and then Europe as well.
“It seems to be a game every few days, but that’s what we do. That’s our job, isn’t it? We all love it.”
While on international duty throughout the year, Lyons has been playing with club teammates Ross Tierney and Dawson Devoy, along with a number of his friends across the league.
“We love it,” he adds. “From talking to Ross [Tierney] and Dawson [Devoy], we relish coming back from international duty and playing for Bohs and then vice versa.”
The League of Ireland’s U21 contingent.
In Jim Crawford’s last Ireland U21 squad, there were eight League of Ireland players involved, with a further two, formerly of the league, also there.
“It’s brilliant,” Lyons adds on the League of Ireland involvement in the Ireland U21 squad. “It’s great to have the home-based players involved.
“To then have two players involved in the team who I know so well is brilliant [Devoy and Tierney]. It’s brilliant off the pitch, but even on the pitch, it’s great. You know their movements and you know what they’re going to do.”
As well as the League of Ireland contingent, there are a number of other high-calibre players in the U21 squad in Will Smallbone and Gavin Kilkenny.
It is that quality which is something that excites Lyons about the next step for this Ireland U21 crop of talent.
“There’s brilliant quality,” he explained. “In the squad, there’s so many people knocking on the door to the first team. If you look at the first-team, there are so many that played for the 21s last year, that is brilliant to see.
“As a 21’s group and as individuals, the aim is to push on, obviously, with our group. We have the quality in the group that can do that.”
Lyons is part of a growing trend of young Irish talent opting to stay at home rather than making a move to the UK at 16/17, even if the offer is there.
Granted, that is now a reality under current Brexit rules, but Lyons has certainly benefitted from playing first-team football while completing his education.
“Education was the big one for me, especially with my family,” he explains. “When you’re younger, I think a lot of people go over and tend to just jump at opportunities that come about but it might not be the best opportunity sometimes.
🦁 And here’s the winner from Andy Lyons! 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/OshjRuZ0LF
— Bohemian Football Club (@bfcdublin) August 29, 2021
“Saying that, I’m not gonna talk about other people.
“Personally, getting my Leaving Cert under my belt was the right thing for me. Obviously, if the move comes about then it has to be the right move and has to be the one that’s right for me but the education part was the right one for me.”
Andy Lyons on his Bohemians Cup dreams.
On Sunday, however, Lyons and his Bohemians teammates have the chance to etch their names into folklore at Dalymount Park as they hunt down their first major trophy since 2008.
And that is something in which the Kildare native is relishing.
“We’re relishing the opportunity,” he explained. “Sunday is a big game and it’s one for the fans. I think the fans are really looking forward to it.
“It’s up to us to give them something to cheer about, but as a collective, we’re looking forward to it.”