Chris Lyons and Luke Byrne added to Ireland U19 squad
League of Ireland duo Chris Lyons and Luke Byrne have been called up to Paul Doolin’s Republic of Ireland squad for the Elite Stage of UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifiers in Portugal.
Forward Chris Lyons (UCD) has been called in to replace Michael Drennan (Aston Villa), while Luke Byrne (Bohemian FC) comes in for James Kavanagh (UCD). Drennan and Kavanagh have both picked up injuries which has ruled them out of the three qualifiers, starting Saturday against Portugal.Manager Paul Doolin is disappointed to lose Drennan and Kavanagh, but has full faith in their replacements: “It is unfortunate that we lost Michael and James, especially as they both dropped out very late in the day but Chris and Luke are two very good players with UCD and Bohs respectively, they are both keen to get going. I am sure that they will acquit themselves well.”
Lyons has been impressive for the Students this season, breaking into the first team at the UCD Bowl, and was due to play this weekend against Sligo Rovers. Full-back Luke Byrne has also seen a lot of first team action this season, slotting in comfortable at left-back for the Dublin side since making his senior debut against Portadown in the Setanta Cup.
Ireland kick-off the group against hosts Portugal on Saturday, before facing Ukraine and Israel next week. The team who finishes top of the group travels to the finals in Estonia in July. “Obviously it is going to be a difficult match facing the hosts in their own back yard,” Doolin said, “but I know that the lads are up for the challenge and I’m sure that they will put it up to Portugal. The first game is important but there are two more tough matches to follow so we will be taking it one game at a time.”