Profiling the Ireland U17s team picked for the European Championships.
Ireland Men’s Under-17s Head Coach Colin O’Brien has named his final squad for next week’s UEFA European U17 Championships in Hungary.
O’Brien’s 20-man squad, which includes 18 players from League Of Ireland academies, will be captained by Shamrock Rovers midfielder Freddie Turley.
Turley is one of many exciting youngsters included, with Naj Razi (Shamrock Rovers), Ike Orazi (Shamrock Rovers) and Mason Melia (St Pat’s) among the names tipped to shine.
Their attacking contributions will, however, have to compensate for the considerable loss of Liverpool winger Trent Kone-Doherty, who, like Derby County’s Niall McAndrew, misses out through injury.
Ireland have been drawn in Group A with Poland, Wales and hosts Hungary, with their opening game taking place on Wednesday against Poland (live on RTÉ News Now)
Speaking ahead of the finals, Head Coach Colin O’Brien said: “The staff and I are really satisfied with the squad and each player is here on merit.
“All the players have had some international involvement this season which was a key factor for us during the selection.
“It will be difficult for Trent (Kone-Doherty) and Niall (McAndrew) to miss out through injury but they’ve good people around them and I’ve no doubts they’ll overcome this.”
“The European Championships is a great platform for player development,” he continued, “and when you look at the senior team there are a number of players who have been involved at Under-17s finals.
“It stood them well and we hope this tournament does this same with this group.”
Ireland U17s: Squad Profile
Goalkeepers: Joe Collins (Bohemians), Jason Healy (Waterford)
Joe Collins (Bohemians): 16-year-old Joe Collins moved from Bray Wanderers to Bohemians in February and currently plays for the Gypsies’ under-19 side. He was named on the bench for Ireland’s crunch qualifier against Cyprus back in March.
Jason Healy (Waterford): Healy is expected to be Ireland’s starting goalkeeper after some impressive displays in the qualifiers which included a clean-sheet in the 3-0 defeat of Ukraine. The shot-stopper was included in Waterford Munster Senior Cup squads earlier this season and will be hoping for more involvements over the next year or so.
Defenders: Stanley Ashbee (Hull City), Daniel Babb (UCD), Jake Grante (Crystal Palace), Kaylem Harnett (Wexford FC), Cory O’Sullivan (Shamrock Rovers), Ade Solanke (Shamrock Rovers)
Stanley Ashbee (Hull City): Stanley is the son of former Hull City captain Ian Ashbee and is making steady progress in the Tigers’ academy. The centre-back, who started Ireland’s last three games, says the call-up to the U17 Euros squad “means everything”.
Daniel Babb (UCD): UCD defender Daniel Babb can play as a right-back or centre-back. The 17-year-old played 80 minutes in the Students’ 2-1 defeat to league leaders Bohemians on St Patrick’s Day, but hasn’t appeared in the league since.
Jake Grante (Crystal Palace): Jake Grante plays as a centre-back for Crystal Palace in the U18s Premier League. The technically assured 17-year-old was left on the bench in some of Ireland’s recent qualifiers.
Kaylem Harnett (Wexford FC): 15-year-old Harnett started two of the Ireland U17s’ three elite round qualifiers and impressed both times. The right-back, who already has 15 underage caps to his name, made his club debut against Bray Wanderers back in March.
Cory O’Sullivan (Shamrock Rovers): Left-back Cory O’Sullivan started all three of Ireland’s elite round qualifiers and is expected to keep his place for Wednesday’s game against Poland. The well-regarded 17-year-old won plaudits for his showing in Shamrock Rovers’ UEFA Youth League draw with AZ Alkmaar last October.
Ade Solanke (Shamrock Rovers): Solanke wins his first Ireland under-17 call-up after impressing in the Shamrock Rovers academy. He is expected to provide back-up to his clubmate O’Sullivan.
📸Impressive starts last night from Kaylem Harnett and Sean Fitzpatrick in our match away to Premier side Shelbourne!
Both academy graduates are in flying form in recent weeks 👏 pic.twitter.com/3tZjl9M288
— Wexford FC (@WexfordFC) May 9, 2023
Midfielders: Romeo Akachukwu (Waterford), Rhys Bartley (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Luke Kehir (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Matthew Moore (Cork City), Danny McGrath (Bohemians), Taylor Mooney (Bohemians), Freddie Turley (Shamrock Rovers)
Romeo Akachukwu (Waterford): Athletic midfielder Akachuku scored in Ireland’s brilliant 2-2 draw with Italy and had a positive impact when he came on against Cyprus and Ukraine. Expect him to play an important role in the Euros.
Rhys Bartley (St Pat’s): St Pat’s under-19 midfielder Bartley gets into the squad after missing out on gametime in the elite phase of qualification. The Crumlin United product signed his first pro deal with St Pat’s in February.
Luke Kehir (St Pat’s): Set-piece specialist Kehir was always going to be included in the Euros squad after providing some big moments for Ireland over the last year. One such moment came against Cyprus when he scored one of the three goals that saw Ireland through to the finals.
Matthew Moore (Cork City): Moore, who will join Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in July, came on in two of Ireland’s elite stage qualifiers. The busy midfielder is only 16 but plays with Cork City’s under-19 team.
Danny McGrath (Bohemians): McGrath captained Ireland to their famous 3-2 win over Cyprus in the absence of Freddie Turley and retains the vice-captaincy for the tournament. The number six is the steady, reliable presence needed by every competitive team at this level.
Taylor Mooney (Bohemians): Mooney joined Bohemians from St Pat’s in February and quickly earned his place in their under-19 squad. He came on for Naj Razi in the final ten minutes of the Ireland U17s 2-2 draw with Italy in March.
Freddie Turley (Shamrock Rovers): Midfielder, defender and captain Freddie Turley will be a vital player for Colin O’Brien’s side over the coming weeks. The 16-year-old has already started for the Shamrock Rovers first team in the Leinster Senior Cup.
Wow! Fantastic team goal from the Ireland U17s finished by St Pat's man Luke Kehir 😍#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/LVjmChJF2w
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) October 23, 2022
Forwards: Mason Melia (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Matthew Murray (Cork City), Ike Orazi (Shamrock Rovers), Nickson Oksoun (Bohemians), Naj Razi (Shamrock Rovers)
Mason Melia (St Pat’s): 15-year-old striker Melia is on the radar of some European clubs after scoring a hat-trick for the Ireland under-17s against Ukraine. He has seen 25 minutes of action for St Pat’s this season and managed to score in that time.
Matthew Murray (Cork City): Murray is another 15-year-old striker with a promising future. Murray come on in the 3-2 win over Cyprus and is likely to be deployed as an impact sub again by O’Brien in the upcoming matches.
Ike Orazi (Shamrock Rovers): Electric Shamrock Rovers winger Ike Orazi scored in the 3-2 Cyprus win and will be vital for Ireland against Poland, Wales and Hungary. Another talent who is just 15 years old.
Nickson Okosun (Bohemians): Okosun has made the Bohs first team bench on a number of occasions and he showed why he’s so highly regarded against Cyprus U17s back in March. It was his composed last-kick winner which sent Ireland through to the championship finals.
Naj Razi (Shamrock Rovers): Arguably the star of the team is Rovers winger Naj Razi who lit up the qualifiers with some mesmerizing dribbling. He scored one of the three goals against Cyprus and caused severe problems for defenders in each of the recent games.
Expected XI: Healy; Harnett, Turley, Ashbee, O’Sullivan; McGrath, Akachukwu, Kehir; Razi, Melia, Orazi
THE PASS FROM RAZI 😮 THE FINISH FROM OKOSUN! 💚
The Ireland U17s qualify for the Euros as Nickson Okosun (LW, Bohemians) scores with the final kick of the game!!!
A great contest finishes Ireland U17s 3-2 Cyprus U17s 🥳#COYBIG | @FootballReprt pic.twitter.com/RAo64uwRnK
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) March 13, 2023
Ireland U17s Euros Fixtures
Wednesday, May 17 | Poland MU17 v Ireland MU17, Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium, Budapest, KO 3.30pm
Saturday, May 20 | Ireland MU17 v Wales MU17, Pancho Arena, Felcsút, KO 3.30pm
Tuesday, May 23 | Ireland MU17 v Hungary MU17, Pancho Arena, Felcsút, KO 7pm
Saturday, May 27 | Quarter Finals, venue and KO time TBC
Tuesday, May 30 | Semi Finals,/ FIFA U17 World Cup Play-Off venue and KO time TBC
Friday, May 2 | Final, venue and KO time TBC
Read More About: colin o'brien, Ike Orazi, ireland football, Naj Razi