First call-ups for Hodge and Adaramola as U21 side named for decisive qualifier

JOE HODGE OF Wolves, Crystal Palace’s Tayo Adaramola, QPR’s Sinclair Armstrong and Cork City’s David Harrington have all received their first Irish U21 call-ups as part of a 25-man squad for a trio of Euro 2023 qualifiers.

Coach Jim Crawford today announced his squad for the final three games of the group: a home double against Bosnia and Montenegro before the final away game against Italy.

Hodge played for the Irish U19s in the run up to the 2019 European Championships semi-finals but has since suffered from a long-term back problem meaning he hasn’t made an appearance at the 2019 European Championships. on loan to Derry City last year. He has since left Manchester City to join Wolves, with whose U23 side he was promoted to the top flight this season.

Left-back Adaramola, meanwhile, made his first-team debut for Palace in the FA Cup earlier this season. Armstrong is a striker who spent the final weeks of the season on loan at Aldershot Town in the Conference. Harrington has been Cork City’s first-choice goalkeeper in the Premier League so far.

Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Conor Noss and UCD striker Liam Kerrigan also return to Crawford’s squad, with team-mate Colm Whelan out as he recovers from an ACL injury. Festy Ebosele is not included as he was called up to the senior team.

Ireland are third in their group with three games to play, one point behind second-placed Sweden, but one game less. They are four points behind leaders Italy after playing the same number of games.

First place in the group will automatically qualify for the finals in Romania and Georgia, while second place will earn a place in the play-off. No Irish team has ever qualified for an U21 final.

Republic of Ireland under-21 team

Guardians: Brian Maher (Derry City), Luke McNicholas (Sligo Rovers), David Harrington (Cork City).

Defenders: Tayo Adaramola (Crystal Palace), Joe Bagan (Cardiff City), Andy Lyons (Shamrock Rovers), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness (Cardiff City), Jake O’Brien (Crystal Palace), Lee O’Connor (Tranmere road).

Midfielders: Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Dawson Devoy (Bohemians), Joe Hodge (Wolves), Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth), Conor Noss (Borussia Möchengladbach), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Ross Tierney (Motherwell).

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Forwards: Sinclair Armstrong (QPR), Darragh Burns (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion), JJ Kayode (Rotherham United), Liam Kerrigan (UCD), Ollie O’Neill (Fulham), Mipo Odubeko (West Ham United), Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa).

UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying – Group F (all times Irish time)

Friday June 3 | Republic of Ireland U21 v Bosnia and Herzegovina U21, Tallaght Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, June 6 | Republic of Ireland U21 v Montenegro U21, Tallaght Stadium, 5.00pm
Tuesday, June 14 | Italy U21 v Republic of Ireland U21, Stadio Cino e Lillo Del Duca, Ascoli, Italy, 4.30pm

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