Doolin wary of racism threat for Serbia trip
IRELAND U-19 manager Paul Doolin hopes UEFA chiefs in Serbia ensure there's no repeat next week of the racism suffered by England last October.
Doolin and his 18-man squad, including three black players, travel to Belgrade for the European Championship elite stage qualifiers to be played from June 6-11.
Racism has long been a problem in Serbian football, magnified to the football world when their U-21 UEFA qualifier against England was marred by ugly scenes.
England players Thomas Ince and Steven Caulker alleged they were racially abused by opponents while monkey taunts could be clearly heard from the crowd when Danny Rose was walking off the pitch after receiving a red card.
The subsequent sanctions imposed on the Serbia FA by UEFA – one U-21 match to be played behind closed doors and an €80,000 fine – were widely slammed for their leniency.
As hosts of the upcoming mini-group, which also includes Switzerland and Slovakia as well as Ireland, Doolin insists Serbia have a duty to prevent any incidences of abuse.
"Serbia had a major incident last year for that England game," said Doolin. "We have three black players in our squad – Noe Baba, Carel Tiofack and Bradley Garmston – so I'd hope that problem won't be there when we play.
"UEFA will have their officials in Belgrade and I'm sure they will be strict on watching out for any of that."
The presence of Cameroon-born Baba (16) is welcome for Doolin, after the Fulham defender recovered from the ankle ligament damage which prevented him skippering the U-17s at their elite qualifiers in Austria in March.
Injuries, however, have ruled out captain Tommie Hoban of Watford (ankle) and top scorer Mikey Drennan from Aston Villa (broken foot).
Ireland face an opener against Switzerland on Thursday week, June 6, at the Obilic Stadium.
They then face Slovakia at the same venue two days later before concluding against the hosts Serbia on Tuesday, June 11 in Novi Sad.
IRELAND U-19 squad – I Lawlor (Manchester City), D Rogers (Aberdeen); S Long, S Griffin, P Sweeney (Reading), S Smith (Leicester City), N Baba (Fulham); K McEvoy (Tottenham Hotspur), L Gallagher (Burnley), K Sadlier (West Ham), B Miele (Newcastle United), S Kavanagh (Fulham), C Tiofack (Cadiz CF), B Garmston (West Brom), W Hayhurst (Preston); S Byrne (Manchester United), S Maguire (West Ham), A Evans (Burnley).