Republic of Ireland confirm May friendly with Italy in Fulham's Craven Cottage
The FAI has confirmed that the Republic of Ireland will play Italy in a friendly match at Fulham's Craven Cottage on May 31.
The match against the four time World Cup winners comes straight after Ireland's May 25 home friendly against Turkey, and forms part of Martin O'Neill's preparations for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, starting in September. The game will also play an important role in Cesare Prandelli's preparations for Brazil, where his side has been drawn in Group D alongside England, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
It will be Ireland's 14th encounter with the Azzurri, having won two and drawn two of the previous 13 meetings. Interestingly Ireland's first ever international match was against an Italy 'B' side in 1926 and they have been familiar opponents in recent times, meeting twice in 2010 World Cup qualification, again at a 2011 friendly in Belgium and most recently at Euro 2012.
The game will kick off at 7.45pm on Saturday, May 31st. Tickets, starting at £10 for U16s and £25 for adults, are available through Fulham's ticket office by calling +44 (0)843 208 1234, or by accessing their online portal www.fulhamfc.com/tickets from Monday, March 24 at 10am. Fans are encouraged to buy early as prices go up by £5 across all age categories / blocks at 5pm on Tuesday, May 27.
The FAI is currently in discussions for further friendly fixtures this summer. Relevant announcements will be made in due course.
Two Easter Soccer
Sisters camps for Kerry
There are two Soccer Sisters Easter Camps this year in Kerry; Killarney Celtic will host a camp on Monday and Tuesday April 14 & 15 while Listowel Celtic play host on Wednesday and Thursday April 16 & 17. The Camp costs €20 and all participants receive a unique Soccer Sisters Jersey and fun-filled coaching sessions.
Bookings can be made online only by going to www.fai.ie/soccersisters
I was recently in Israel as part of an FAI delegation participating in a UEFA Study Visit along with delegates from Portugal and Spain as well as hosts Israel. The UEFA Study Group Scheme is an innovative technical exchange programme which allows UEFA's 53-member national associations to discuss and share knowledge on topics such as coach education, grassroots, elite youth football and the women's game.
Over the next few weeks I will share with you what I saw on this visit which covered such topics as the U19 National Girls Academy in Israel and their Green Card initiative which is all about teaching children about Fair Play and Respect from a very early age.
One interesting fact to whet your appetite is that up to and including under 12 there are no league tables, no points for matches and no yellow or red cards, only green, the whole emphasis is on teaching players respect for the game and their opponent.
After a hugely successful Cyprus tournament recently Ireland's next game will be on Saturday, April 5 at Tallaght Stadium, home of Shamrock Rovers, when they face world no.2 and current European champions Germany as they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign.
More on this game as the date draws nearer but it would be great to see clubs from Kerry supporting the girls in green at this big match.
Kerry's Savannah McCarthy captained the Ireland U-17 womens side last season and recently made her debut for the U-19s in the La Manga Tournament and Savannah could well be knocking on the door of the senior team in the future. COYGIG.