Home » Headline, International

Republic of Ireland Under-21 Player Profiles

30 August 2011 28,643 views No Comment Written by Ronan

The Republic of Ireland u21s kick off their 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification Group 7 on the 1st of September at the Sligo Showgrounds against Hungary. Ahead of that match, GreenScene profiles the eighteen players who make up the squad for the opening two games (Ireland face Turkey at the Atatürk Stadium in Denizli on September 6th).


Ian McLoughlin
Club: Milton Keynes Dons
Age: 20
Position: Goalkeeper
U21 Caps: 3
A summer signing from Ipswich, Dubliner Ian McLoughlin had a very impressive start for the Under-21s, saving a penalty in his debut against Cyprus in February. He played five games on loan at League Two side Stockport last season, but has yet to play in League One for MK Dons, where is currently the back-up to David Martin.


Aaron McCarey
Club: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Age: 19
Position: Goalkeeper
U21 Caps: 1
One of Ireland’s best performers at the 2011 European Under-19 Championships this summer, McCarey was selected by UEFA as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. He made his under-21 debut against Austria earlier this month, and could well find himself starting Ireland’s games at U21 level. Highly thought of by club manager Mick McCarthy, the former Monaghan United youth keeper gained some first team experience on loan at AFC Telford last season.


Lanre Oyebanjo
Club: York City
Age: 21
Position: Defender
U21 Caps: 4
The former FAI Under-19 Player of the Year has already slotted into the first team at York City after transferring from fellow Conference side Histon during the summer. A right-back of Nigerian descent, he was previously at Brentford but couldn’t make the breakthrough and moved to the Conference to join Histon. He qualifies for Ireland through his Ballyfermot mother, and was recruited at Histon by Irish youth coach Kit Carson.


Shane Duffy
Club: Everton
Age: 19
Position: Defender
U21 Caps: 3
A former Northern Irish youth international, Everton defender Shane Duffy converted to the Republic of Ireland in 2010. However, his first training session did not go well, with Duffy being rushed to hospital after a life-threatening injury. Luckily, Duffy has recovered fully and is now a first choice defender for the Irish U21 side. He had a disappointing loan spell with Burnley last season, but may go out on loan again this year to gain first team experience.


Gavin Gunning
Club: Dundee United
Age: 20
Position: Defender
U21 Caps: 5
Dubliner Gunning signed for Blackburn in 2006 from Crumlin United, but spent most of the last five years out on loan at various clubs (Tranmere, Rotherham, and Bury), but impressed most last year while on loan at Motherwell. Earlier this month, he joined Dundee United in a permanent move, and scored his first senior goal just last weekend. A former Irish U19 international, he has seamlessly made the step up to U21 level, and can be deployed at left back or centre back.


Rob Kiernan
Club: Wigan Athletic
Age: 20
Position: Defender
U21 Caps: 6
A new signing at the DW Stadium, the former Ireland U19 captain played for his hometown club Watford since joining their academy in 2000. Formerly a central midfielder, the centre back featured only in the cup for the Hornets, but gained league experience at Kilmarnock, Yeovil, Bradford, and Wycombe on loan. He has yet to feature for Wigan, but captained Ireland in the friendly against Austria earlier this month.


Niall Canavan
Club: Scunthorpe United
Age: 20
Position: Defender
U21 Caps: 2
A tall, strong centre back made his Championship debut back in 2009, but has yet become a first team regular for Scunthorpe. However, he’s getting more opportunities this season already, and even started for the Iron against Newcastle in the League Cup. Made his Ireland Under-21 debut in March, but will probably be mainly a substitute in Euro 2013 qualifiers.


Aidan White
Club: Leeds United
Age: 19
Position: Defender/Midfielder
U21 Caps: 1
Aidy White can play either at left full-back or left wing, and has been used in both positions by Leeds United this season. He’s a former England under-19 international, but converted to Ireland this summer, and provided an assist in his first game earlier this month. Spent most of last season on loan at Oldham Athletic, playing 24 times and scoring four goals. Should be a first team regular with Leeds this season, as long as manager Simon Grayson forgives him for the red card he picked up last weekend.


Richie Towell
Club: Hibernian
Age: 20
Position: Defender/Midfielder
U21 Caps: 5
Another versatile defender, Richie Towell can play in central midfield, right-wing, or right-back. Made the Celtic bench regularly at the start of last season, before joining Hibernian on loan. Impressed during his 16 appearances with Hibs, and returned to Easter Road again for the 2011-12 season where he will be a first choice defender in front of fellow Irishman Graham Stack.


Mark Connolly
Club: Bolton Wanderers
Age: 19
Position: Defender
U21 Caps: 3
Monaghan-born defender Mark Connolly signed for Bolton in 2009 for £1,000,000 from Wolves as a 17 year old. He made one appearance last season on loan at St. Johnstone, and was named on the bench just last week for Bolton in the League Cup. A lot is expected of the centre-back, especially as Bolton paid so much for him, and he is sure to make his debut for the club this season.


Adam Barton
Club: Preston North End
Age: 20
Position: Midfielder
U21 Caps: 1
One of only two senior internationals in the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad, Adam Barton picked up a single cap for Northern Ireland against Morocco last November, but switched allegiance to the Republic earlier this year. Made his Irish U21 debut in March against Portugal, but was injured for the friendly against Austria. Stuck with Preston after their relegation to League One, and will definitely improve on the 33 appearances he made for the club last season.


Conor Clifford
Club: Chelsea
Age: 19
Position: Midfielder
U21 Caps: 8
A recent call-up to Giovanni Trapattoni’s senior squad against Croatia, Clifford made the bench for the friendly, but was not called upon. Spent the first half of last season with Plymouth Argyle and had a fantastic spell at the club. However, due to financial problems, Argyle were not allowed to extend his loan until the end of the season. A disappointing few months with Notts County followed, but Clifford will be hoping for a move to a Championship club this season. One of Ireland’s brightest prospects.


James McCarthy
Club: Wigan Athletic
Age: 20
Position: Midfielder
U21 Caps: 5, 1 goal
Were James McCarthy an American sports star, terms such as “phenom” or “prodigy” would have been used to describe his amazing impact as a teenager at Hamilton. He helped the Scottish side to promotion to the SPL, playing over 100 games for the club before he turned 19. Signed for Wigan for £1,200,000 in 2009, and has been impressive in the Premier League. Has three senior caps for the Republic of Ireland, but a recurring ankle injury has stopped him adding to them. Will be looking to prove a point for Noel King’s U21 side in the next two weeks.


Jeff Hendrick
Club: Derby County
Age: 19
Position: Midfielder
U21 Caps: 1
A key player in Ireland’s U19 Euro 2011 squad, Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick has played for Ireland at all youth levels, making his U21 debut against Austria. Has played in each of the Rams’ five Championship games so far, and is already considered a key player alongside Irish international legend Kevin Kilbane and fellow youth Mark O’Brien.


Aaron Doran
Club: Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Age: 20
Position: Midfielder
U21 Caps: 3
A right-winger capable of playing up front, Aaron Doran joined Inverness Caledonian Thistle permanently in July after impressing on loan last season. The Corkman made three league appearances for Blackburn, and spent time on loan at MK Dons and Leyton Orient before joining Inverness. Scored three SPL goals last season, and will be a constant threat to opposition teams in the Euro 2013 qualifiers.


Robbie Brady
Club: Hull City
Age: 19
Position: Midfielder/Forward
U21 Caps: 1, 2 goals
Robert Brady is a much vaunted Manchester United winger who is currently on loan at Hull City, where he scored his first senior goal last weekend in a 1-0 Championship win over Reading. Winning lots of praise so far at the KC Stadium, Brady was instrumental in helping the Ireland U19s qualify for the 2011 European Championships. Scored both goals against Austria, and will be hoping to repeat that feat against Hungary at the Sligo Showgrounds this week.


Sean Scannell
Club: Crystal Palace
Age: 20
Position: Forward
U21 Caps: 2
Sean Scannell scored two league goals each season from 2007/08 to 2010/11, and has already matched that mark for 2011/12. Has started all five of Crystal Palace’s games this term, and is really starting to find his feet at the club. Has amazingly played over 100 Championship games, and was voted Championship Apprentice of the Year in 2009. Was in Trapattoni’s 28 man squad for the Serbia friendly in 2008, and could easily win his first senior cap in the next year or two.


Rhys Murphy
Club: Arsenal
Age: 20
Position: Forward
U21 Caps: 0
A former Republic of Ireland under-15 international, Murphy lined out for his native side England from U16 to U19 level, and played in the 2007 UEFA U17 Championship and the 2009 UEFA U19 Championship. After a call from Noel King as well as Arsenal Ladies’ Yvonne Tracy, Murphy decided to switch back to Ireland for U21 qualifiers. Recently linked with Glasgow Rangers, he has yet to make the breakthrough at the Emirates, and will probably go out on loan this season.


James Collins
Club: Shrewsbury Town
Age: 20
Position: Forward
U21 Caps: 1
A former Aston Villa striker, James Collins was known as Jim or James Jr. to differentiate himself from the Welsh defender of the same name. Joined Burton on loan last season before moving permanently to Shrewsbury, and has since carved out a name for himself as a prolific League Two goalscorer. Scored 12 goals last season, and is already off the mark for 2011-12, hitting the net against Plymouth.

Related posts:

  1. Player Profiles: Irish in the MLS
  2. Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland Player Ratings
  3. 2011 Euro U19 Championship Preview: Republic of Ireland
  4. 2011 Euro U19 Championship Preview: Czech Republic
  5. Keith Treacy completes move to Burnley

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.