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Saturday 10 December 2016

Saint Jamie eyes up Irish U21 berth

Jamie McGrath
Jamie McGrath

Teenage star Jamie McGrath hopes that his form with St Patrick's Athletic can earn him a call-up to the Ireland U21s.

The Saints are on top form in the league - Friday's 3-1 defeat of Galway United was their seventh successive league win - and they take a break from the Premier Division campaign today, away to Shamrock Rovers in the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup (4pm).

Meath-born forward McGrath has played no small part in that run and with four straight league starts under his belt, he's accepted the challenge from boss Liam Buckley to impose himself and scored two goals. His form has made people take note and McGrath hopes that U21 boss Noel King sees something he likes. In the last 15 years only two players have won U21 caps while on the books at Pats (Joe O Cearuil and Christopher Forrester) but McGrath would love to change that.

"I have played for the Ireland U19s but I'd love to work my way into the U21s now if I can," says Athboy lad McGrath.

"It's hard for League of Ireland players to get in there but it's definitely an aim for me.

"We're in good form going into the semi-final today. Our performance against Galway on Friday wasn't brilliant, we'd like to play better but we're getting wins and that's the main thing.

"We have a semi-final against Rovers now today and we'd love to win another trophy so we're heading to Tallaght to win the game."

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