IRELAND’S U19 side have already managed to catch the eye of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, but the key goal is still the capture of a place in the European Championship finals later this summer,
And Donegal-born defender Kyle Callan-McFadden believes that the interest shown in Paul Doolin’s side by management team of the senior squad is a massive boost to their confidence.
The Irish lads had a perfect start on Wednesday night to their three-game campaign in the Elite round of qualification for the Euro finals, which will be held in Hungary in July, Ireland beating Iceland 2-1 at Tallaght Stadium.
By the time Ireland face up to Turkey in the second game tonight (Tallaght Stadium, 7pm), they will know the outcome of the afternoon clash between Iceland and Serbia. The path to the finals will be clearer, so there’s even a chance that Ireland can seal qualification with a win over the Turks, if the other game has gone their way.
That’s because some of the hard work has already been done with that win over Iceland and it was significant that both O’Neill and Keane took the time to travel to Tallaght for the game, a stark contrast to predecessors Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli who showed little or no interest in the affairs of the Irish underage teams.
“It’s great to see someone like Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane take an interest in you, it gives you real encouragement to look up into the stand and see Roy there,” says Norwich City man Callan-McFadden.
“They have a busy time with the senior squad so it’s good to know they are there watching us. Everyone in Irish football now is looking for a lift and it’d be great if we can finish off this week and qualify for the finals.
“We are out to win every game and we don’t want to be relying on other matches in the group to qualify, I want us to win the three matches. If the other game in the group today goes our way then it’s happy days but we still want to go out for a win.
“We had some tired legs in training yesterday as Wednesday against Iceland was a hard game for us. The day went well for us especially as Serbia drew with Turkey and we won our game, so the advantage is with us, the day couldn’t have gone any better.
“Hopefully we can keep that up and get another good result against Turkey tonight. Iceland was a tough match as they are a good side, they came out of a group that contained France and Belgium so they had a lot of talent. They had a big centre forward who was tricky enough but myself and Sean Long at the back dealt with him easily enough.
“Iceland sat off us early on in the game but they saw we could play a bit so they put pressure on us and we had to stand up to them, we did well to get the win,” added Callan-McFadden, due to return to Norwich City next week to put pen to paper on a new one-year contract.
Coach Doolin has options to freshen up his side with the second game coming around so quickly but, as with the first game, men like Alan Browne (Preston), Sean Long (Reading) and Sam Byrne (Manchester United) will be key figures.