Fresh from making his competitive debut for the Sligo Rovers first team on Monday night, Donegal town’s Jack Keaney has been named in the Republic of Ireland Under-18 squad for the Slovakia Cup.
Jim Crawford’s team will be participating in an eight-team tournament and have been grouped with Czech Republic, Russia and Turkey with a classification game also involved.
Keaney (pictured) made his Sligo debut in Monday’s EA Sports Cup win over Finn Harps in Ballybofey and has made the cut.
Edward McGinty, who lives in Ballyshannon, has also been named in the squad. McGinty was Sligo’s substitute goalkeeper for Monday’s game. The Glasgow-born stopper plays for Sligo’s Under-19s.
Ireland U19 boss and former Harps midfielder Tom Mohan used several players still eligible for the U18s in the UEFA U19 European Championship Elite Qualifying Round last month but Crawford was not in a position to call up the majority of those players for this tournament.
Given the tight timeframe that the tournament will be taking place in and the demanding level of their opponents, Crawford feels that the players will get a strong opportunity to make an impression.
“We’ll see if these players are up to international level but it’s also an opportunity for themselves as players to learn a lot and use this as a barometer of where they’re at,” said Crawford.
“Then they should see if they can bring that back to their clubs and make further progres as a player and help their overall development.
“The quality of the opposition will be very high. We’ve done our research on them and we know that the Czech Republic, Russia and Turkey are all excellent sides at this age group.”
Monday, April 24: Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland, Modranka (KO 14:00)
Tuesday, April 25: Republic of Ireland v Russia, Dunajska Luzna (KO 10:00)
Thursday, April 27: Republic of Ireland v Turkey, Dunajska Luzna (KO 10:00)
Friday, April 28: Classification match, TBC