Irish U19 squad named

Republic of Ireland Under 19 manager Sean McCaffrey has named a strong 20-man squad for two friendly internationals against Slovenia in Dublin in two weeks time as he continues preparations for the UEFA Under 19 Championship qualifiers in May.

With just five friendlies between now and the first qualification game against Belgium in May, and these two being the final home clashes, McCaffrey is using the two games to have a good look at players on the fringes of the team.

"Slovenia finished top of their qualification group in the first phase and as we saw last year in Dublin (when their Under 19 side was involved in the European Championships qualifiers), they are a strong physical side and will provide a good test.

"It's always better to see how players do against good opposition because we will be facing strong teams in the European qualifiers. I intend to start every player in the squad over the two games."

For the two games, McCaffrey has called up three new faces; Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Robert Elliott, Luton Town's Keith Keane and Roy O'Donovan of Coventry City while Rory Hutton of Peterborough is also called up after also been included in the squad that drew 3-3 with France in

September.

"Robert Elliott and Roy O'Donovan haven't been around too many squads in the past but are doing very well at club level and I'd like to see them in an Ireland shirt," said McCaffrey. "Rory Hutton also hasn't been that involved but he looked good against France but the trouble was he only played 15

minutes. I want to see him for longer.

"I've also brought in Keith Keane. He was born in Luton and has Irish parents and I've seen him a few times this season and he really impresses me. He's very strong and can play anywhere on the right. He's a regular in Luton's reserves and has had a few run outs for their first team."

Although he will be concentrating at the players in his own squad, McCaffrey admits he will be keeping in touch with Under 21 manager Don Givens who has included three Under 19 players in his squad for the Madeira International Tournament which is on at the same time.

Ireland are due to face Slovenia at Richmond Park on Monday, February 23 (Kick off 7:30pm) before moving on to the second game in Dalymount Park, February 25 (Kick off 7:30pm).

Squad: Paul Murphy (Leicester City), Elliott (Charlton Athletic), O'Mahoney (Limerick), Deans (Derby County), Flynn (Wolverhampton Wanderers), McShane (Manchester United), McFaul (Notts County), Hutton (Peterborough), Keane (Luton Town), Cassidy (Derby County), Dawson (Leicester City), Cregg (Arsenal), O'Connor (Wolverhampton Wanderers), O'Leary (Luton Town), O'Brien (Newcastle United), Mulligan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Paul Murphy (Manchester City), McGeady (Celtic), Ward (Bohemians), O'Donovan (Coventry City).

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