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Euro U19 finals are within our grasp: Doolin


Ireland U19 manager Paul Doolin. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland U19 manager Paul Doolin. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland U19 manager Paul Doolin. Pic: Sportsfile

PAUL DOOLIN is confident that his Ireland U19 side can emerge from a tough qualifying group next month and advance to the European Championship finals for the second time in three years, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

The Irish side have already done some of the hard work, emerging from a four-team qualifying group to go on to the elite round of qualification.

They face Switzerland, Slovakia and host nation Serbia in a mini-tournament between June 6-11, with the winners of that group progressing to the finals, held in Lithuania in July.

"I believe we have a balanced squad that has done well this season to remain unbeaten in seven games. We'll be going there looking to qualify for the finals," said Doolin as he named his 18-man squad.

Doolin was also the manager of the U19 side in 2011 when they went all the way to the semi-finals, losing 5-0 to eventual winners Spain.

Injuries have disrupted Doolin's plans as key men Tommie Hoban (Watford) and Mikey Drennan (Aston Villa) are absent, Drennan a real loss as he scored four goals in two games in the last round of qualification.

But Fulham prospect Noe Baba has overcome injury to make the squad.

The panel assemble in Dublin on Thursday and then head to Serbia for the games against Switzerland (June 6), Slovakia (June 8) and Serbia (June 11).

Ireland U19 squad

Ian Lawlor (Manchester C), Danny Rogers (Aberdeen), Steven Smith (Leicester C), Pierce Sweeney (Reading), Noe Baba (Fulham), Sean Long (Reading), Shane Griffin (Reading), Sean Kavanagh (Fulham), Carel Tiofack (Cadiz), Luke Gallagher (Burnley), Kenny McEvoy (Spurs), Kieran Sadlier (West Ham), Bradley Garmston (WBA), Sam Byrne (Manchester U), Brandon Miele (Newcastle U), Will Hayhurst (Preston), Sean Maguire (West Ham), Adam Evans (Burnley).