Saturday 26 May 2018

Lawlor ready to face German attack

IRELAND U-19 goalkeeper Ian Lawlor feels Keiren Westwood's pain but doesn't expect his side to allow Germany the same freedom as the seniors in tonight's concluding UEFA U-19 Championship qualifier.

With both Ireland and Germany already beating Luxembourg and Macedonia in the opening two rounds to qualify for the elite stage, their meeting in Grevenmacher, Luxembourg (6.0) will decide top spot.

Lawlor has been used to success this season, gaining promotion to the Manchester City first-team squad for a pre-season trip to Austria and netting a two-year contract extension from Roberto Mancini.

Today's game represents the toughest of his international tests so far, but the Dubliner insists the team won't cave like the seniors did in last Friday's 6-1 massacre.

"All of our squad watched the senior match and it was a very disappointing display for Ireland," said the Home Farm product.

"We're already through to the elite stage but beating Germany to finish top is our aim as it could improve our seeding in the next round.

"We've no fear of the Germans and won't be going out to put 10 men behind the ball.

"Our players have won their two games so far and we'll be looking to finish the group with a third victory. Fans at home might be feeling down right now, but hopefully we can give them something to be cheerful about."

To reach next summer's UEFA finals in Lithuania, Ireland will need to top another four-nation group at the elite stage, set to be contested in May.

IRELAND (probable) -- Lawlor (Manchester City); Baba (Castlebar Celtic), Sweeney (Reading), Hoban (Watford, capt), Griffin (Reading); Gallagher (Burnley), Sadlier (West Ham), Miele (Newcastle United); Drennan (Aston Villa), Byrne (Manchester United), Garmston (WBA).

Irish Independent

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