Kevin part of Irish Under-18 soccer squad
Published 20/03/2012 | 15:15
IRISH UNDER-17 soccer manager John Morling has selected Kevin O'Connor from Screen as part of his 18-man squad for the UEFA elite stage qualifiers to be held in the Netherlands this week.
Kevin is one of seven home-based players in the squad which includes F.A.I. player of the year Kyle Mcfadden of Norwich City, Sam Byrne of Manchester United and Jack Grealish of Aston Villa.
Kevin, who this season is playing for St. Patrick's Athletic in Dublin, learned his football with Curracloe United schoolboys where he played from Under-8 to Under-16 under the watchful eye of Aidan Mcguire. He is the second player from the club in recent years to represent Ireland at international level, following in the footsteps of Craig Mccabe.
Kevin has won numerous leagues and cups with the club and was voted man of the match in the Under-14 cup final two years ago. He was also a member of the very successful county squad which won the Kennedy Bowl in 2009 and the Umbro Galway Cup in 2010 where he was selected as player of the tournament.
Ireland qualified for the elite stage by emerging from the pool stage in far away Kazakhstan in October, and they will hope to top their group to qualify for the finals in Slovenia in May. Preparations for this week saw the squad play a double friendly last September against Serbia in Ferrycarrig Park, with training camps in Turkey and the Algarve last month.
Ireland's first game in the elite stage will also be against Serbia on March 22. Then they face reigning European champions Netherlands on March 24 and finish with Albania on March 27.
Kevin, a fifth year student in St. Peter's College, has been given great support in his soccer career to date by his parents, Brian and Breda, and brother Brian (22). He is also a very talented G.A.A. player with the Shelmaliers club.