independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Depleted Republic up against it for Germans Euro Qualifier in Dublin

Tom O'shea, FAI Regional Manager for South, with all the latest soccer news

INJURY worries for Trappatoni as we prepare to face Germany and the Faroe Islands, as I write this, Richard Dunne and Kevin Doyle are definitely out while there are now doubts over Sean St Ledger (hamstring) and James McClean (groin). David Meyler (Sunderland) and Robbie Brady (Manchester United) have been added to the squad as cover.

It's hard to see us getting anything off the Germans on Friday. They are a young, exciting side but also have a great mix of experienced players. We will have to play at our best to get anything at all out of this but football is a funny old game and the manager and the players will be looking to upset the favourites and maybe the wily old Italian has a trick or two up his sleeve that will be unexpected by the visitors.

With Doyle out I hope Shane Long gets the nod alongside Robbie Keane up front, Long has been in brilliant form for West Brom who are riding high in the Premiership at the moment.

Likewise I would love to see the manager throw Seamus Coleman of Everton in at right back and free up John O'Shea to partner Darren O'Dea in the centre. Coleman is also a player in great form in an Everton team that has had a great start to the season.

Would you take a point if it was offered to you now? I would for sure and if we follow that up with the three points away to the Faroe Islands on Tuesday it will be a very decent start to the campaign.

General admission tickets for the match have sold out. There are a limited number of premium tickets left for along with some season tickets. Season tickets, covering seven matches in the Aviva Stadium, start at €60 for children, €109 for students and €159 for adults.

Iarnrod Eireann will be providing a number of special return services for fans travelling to the game. For those travelling from Munster, a special train will depart at 23:10 from Dublin's Heuston Station for Limerick, Mallow and Cork arriving in Limerick at 01:30 and Cork at 02:00. Supporters will have a choice of trains to Dublin on the day of the match.

Fans taking the train can avail of cheap online fares if they book three days or more in advance of travelling. For more details, please visit the Iarnrod Eireann website at www.irishrail.

Savannah McCarthy captained Irish with distinction

The FAI Emerging Talent Programme has one main focus - developing players. This cannot happen overnight but takes hundreds of hours over several years. The past week has seen the rewards of such a Programme as our U17 Boys and U17 Girls teams both qualified from the first qualifying round group stage of their respective UEFA competition.

The boys team finished joint top of the table with Sweden after both teams finished with identical records of two wins, one draw, seven scored and two conceded.

The girls team - captained magnificently by Listowel Celtic's Savannah McCarthy - went one better by winning all three games in their group beating Finland in their final match to seal top spot. Amazingly 14 of the 18 players in the girls squad are underage next year so this makes their achievement even more remarkable.

These performances are a reward for the players and coaching staff working hard all over the country to develop the undoubted talent that we have, it takes time but weeks like this are what it's all about.

A special congratulations to Savannah McCarthy of Listowel Celtic: she led the team by example all week and even managed to get on the scoresheet against Georgia.

Our coaching staff rate her very highly, to all of the coaches who have worked with her over the years in Listowel, take a bow, job well done!

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