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Busy U-21 star Leahy has no fear of Italians

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Darragh Leahy

Darragh Leahy

SPORTSFILE

Darragh Leahy

He's in demand for club and country - and Dubliner Darragh Leahy admits that a hectic schedule over the coming weeks leaves him with no time to sit back and take it all in.

Last week Leahy was part of the Dundalk side which reached the group stages of the Europa League, winning their play-off tie against Faroese side KI.

Next week he will hope to feature for the Ireland U-21s when they travel to face Italy in a key game in the European Championship qualifiers. Jim Crawford's side currently sit top of the table, though Italy have a game in hand.

And as well as that, Dundalk now have to squeeze in an extra game into an already jammed calendar, as tonight's planned fixture away to St Patrick's Athletic, which Leahy would have missed due to international duty, was called off after a positive test for Covid-19 in the Saints camp.

"It is a hectic schedule," says full back Leahy.

"We played the Europa game on Thursday night at the Aviva, then it was a quick turnaround, we played Finn Harps on the Sunday.

"I know we made a lot of changes, but I was straight to camp. There wasn't much time to be talking about it.

"It's just unbelievable to think of it. Especially since the break, the time we've had with Dundalk, different managers and stuff like that, to think that we are in the group stages now is kind of surreal."

Factors like the game in Pisa being behind closed doors and Italy having two of their players test positive for Covid-19, with that classy Italian side still smarting from a shock 3-0 loss to Sweden, all add more intrigue to next week's qualifier.

"We are very close to qualifying. We have a massive game on Tuesday, we take it one game a time and I don't see why we can't go to the U-21 Championships.

"We saw Italy when they came to Tallaght and there is nothing to fear," says a confident Leahy

For the Dubliner, it's some turnaround in his career since he quit Coventry City to kick-start things at Bohemians.

"Towards the end of my time in Coventry, I wasn't really playing," he says.

"I just wanted to come home, start enjoying football again, get game time.

"Luckily I did and I'm grateful to Bohs for giving me that opportunity," Leahy says.

"To get my feet on the ground again and enjoying my football. I had two really good years at Bohs and haven't really looked back since I've come home."