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St Michael's star overtakes legendary FAI Amateur aces Barry Flynn and Keith Bruen

REPUBLIC of Ireland Amateur international manager Gerry Smith has led the congratulations for team skipper James 'Chalkey' Walshe who will earn a record making 60th cap when he lines out against England at Frank Cooke Park in Saturday's 'friendly' international.

The Cashel town native was first capped in 2001 against the Isle of Man but has since gone on to equal the Irish appearance record held by the legendary Barry Flynn and Keith Bruen.

Said international boss Smith of his 34-year-old skipper: "James has been a fantastic servant to his country. He's a brilliant leader on and off the pitch and he's weighed in with some very important goals for us over the years.

"He's been an inspirational figure and I'm delighted for him that he's achieved this honour," he added.

The Amateurs are building up to a UEFA Regions Cup qualifier, which will be hosted by the FAI in October when France, Italy and San Marino will make up the group with only one team qualifying for the finals proper.

The Amateurs have two friendly games -- the first against England who will be represented by Guernsey on Saturday and tomorrow week they will travel to Loughall to face Northern Ireland who themselves are heading to Macedonia a week later for their own mini-qualifying UEFA Regions tournament.

The FAI Amateurs have qualified on three occasions for the tournament, which is specifically for amateur players.

Walshe has been a central figure over the course of those successful qualifying campaigns and although the 34-year-old recently became engaged whilst on holiday in New Zealand, any thoughts of retirement are far from his mind.

Said Walshe, who has skippered his country on 34 occasions: "I was thrilled to win my first cap in 2001 and the honour is no less important now."

"I've been very fortunate to have had such great support from my club St Michael's and my family over the years and I believe their is still a bit of mileage left on the clock. "


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