Academy Irish: Reading Youth
With a number of Irish players on the books for Reading’s senior Football League Championship team, they have gained a larger following in Ireland. Their youth team also features a few upcoming Irishmen, who currently sit in fifth place in Group B of the FA Premier Academy League. Managed by former Republic of Ireland under 21 international (and brother of Pat) Eamonn Dolan. Dolan was part of the Irish squad for the 1985 FIFA World Youth Championship, so has plenty of experience at this level. He also managed Exeter City in 2003-04.
The 17 year old goalkeeper was called up to the Republic of Ireland under 17 training camp last summer, but has not made much of an impact at a club which features England’s international keeper Jonathan Henly between the sticks.
Now in his second season with the club, 18 year old defender Carl McHugh is a regular in both Reading’s Academy side and the Republic of Ireland youth sides. He captained Ireland under 17s last year in a friendly against Hungary, and made the step up to the under 19s under new boss Paul Doolin. He’s a strong, brave defender, and is not afraid to attack the ball.
The 16 year old striker is a regular international for John Morling’s side, and was instrumental in helping the side progress to the Elite Stage of qualifying for the 2011 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, scoring against both Malta and Albania last September. He hasn’t featured as regularly for his club, and is being kept out by England striker Jordan Obita, who has already had game time with the senior side, coming on as a substitute in the Carling Cup. However, Obita is two years older, and Murphy will look to take over his attacking role next season.