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Browne calls on fans to push U23s to English win

WATERFORD United defender Kenny Browne has appealed to the soccer public to come out and support the Irish U23 side as they kick off their new campaign with a clash at home to England tonight.

The Ireland U23s, a squad made up exclusively of home-based players, takes on what's been called the England C team, with Conference-level players, at the RSC tonight in the first game of the International Challenge Trophy. It's a new beginning for manager Paul Doolin but it's also a homecoming for defender Browne, who plays his club football for Waterford.

"Obviously it's a game that means a lot to me personally so I'm really hoping that I'll pull through and that I'll be OK for the game," said Browne.

"It's a great ambition of mine to wear the Irish jersey and it will be even more special that the game is on here in Waterford, so I'm looking forward to the occasion.

"Coming back to Waterford and playing in a green jersey is something that I've dreamt of, but it's just typical that I haven't been sick in more than two years and then, before what will certainly be the biggest game of my career to date, this happens," added the U23 man.

"The doctors are helping me, though, and I should be OK.

"It's a massive game for all of us and it's one that we as a squad are really looking forward to so hopefully there'll be a massive crowd and we can get the result we're looking for," Browne added.

ARMENIA, Ireland's first opponents in the European Championship qualifiers which kick off in September, sent out a message of intent for the qualifying campaign with a 3-1 friendly win over Uzbekistan in Yerevan last night.

Armenia went ahead on six minutes thanks to Genrikh Mkhitaryan. A penalty from Edgar Manucharyan on 16 minutes then doubled the lead, and Manucharyan soon made it 3-0.