Three of Waterford FC’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division games in late May/early June will be subjected for change after duo Zack Elbouzedi and Aaron Drinan, who is on-loan from Ipswich Town, have been named in Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming Under 21 Toulon tournament in France.
Both players were part of the Ireland’s squad for the first qualifier against Luxembourg back in March and the Blues pair are also joined in the squad by Waterford natives Lee O’Connor and Jayson Molumby, both who started in the Tallaght clash that the Irish won 3-0.
The news that Elbouzedi and Drinan have been included in Kenny’s 22-man squad for the tournament which begins on June 3 will impact on the Blues’ games against Shamrock Rovers on May 31, Cork City on June 9 and Derry City on June 15.
Elbouzedi started in Ireland’s win over Luxembourg where he played practically the whole game, while Drinan came on a late substitute. Jayson Molumby, who captained Ireland in that game, is included once again, while Lee O’Connor, who could have played with Ireland at the Under 19 championships, is also selected.
Ireland will gather in Dublin this week before flying out to Toulon for the first game on Monday next, Kenny’s side facing Bahrain, China and Mexico in Group C in Provence, France. It will be the first time since 2002 that Ireland have competed in the tournament and they’ll be hoping for a successful tournament.
Manchester United’s Lee O’Connor with the Villa U-10s at Connors Park this week. The former Villa man has been included in Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad for the upcoming Toulon Tournament.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Republic of Ireland Under 21 manager Stephen Kenny said, “We’re extremely excited about going to the Toulon tournament and this is a fantastic opportunity for the players to express themselves in one of the most prestigious under-age international tournaments.
“We’ve never qualified for the European Championships at U-21 level so this tournament represents the highest level we’d have played at and we’re set to play Mexico, China and Bahrain’s Olympic squads, as they prepare to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
“It’s also crucially important that we continue to build momentum throughout the year after the win over Luxembourg and looking ahead to the qualifiers in October and November. It’s good once again that the squad is well represented by League of Ireland players.
“I’m delighted to welcome into the squad the likes of Stephen Mallon, Canice Carroll, Jason Knight, Tyreke Wilson and Aaron Connolly who set up to U-21 international level for the first time, and also Jack Taylor, who comes into his first Ireland squad.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21 SQUAD: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Conor Kearns (UCD AFC), Darragh Leahy (Bohemians), Conor Masterson (Liverpool), Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Liam Scales (UCD AFC), Lee O’Connor (Manchester United), Tyreke Wilson (Manchester City), Canice Carroll (Brentford), Jayson Molumby (Brighton and Hove Albion), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Jason Knight (Derby County), Connor Ronan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Neil Farrugia (UCD AFC), Stephen Mallon (Sheffield United), Zach Elbouzedi (Waterford), Simon Power (Norwich City), Jack Taylor (Barnet), Jamie Lennon (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Aaron Drinan (Ipswich Town, on loan at Waterford), Aaron Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion).