Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Lee O’Connor and the Republic of Ireland U-21s will face Israel in the playoffs for a spot at the European U-21 Championships. Photo: Inpho.

The cup fate of the Republic of Ireland Under 21 in the playoff stage for the UEFA Euro 2023 Championship and that of both Waterford FC and Villa in the FAI Senior Cup were determined this afternoon (Tuesday) after the relevant draws were completed.
For the Republic of Ireland Under 21s in their bid to reach their first ever finals, they’ll have to face Israel in the playoff, with the first of the two games set to be played in Dublin before having to go away for the second leg in a bid for qualification.
Israel, who finished second in Group B, will provide stiff opposition over two legs between September 19-27 following the draw in Nyon, Switzerland this afternoon.
The Irish squad, which includes Waterford’s Lee O’Connor, who is the most capped underage player to play for his country, reached a first ever U-21s play-offs having won four of their final five games in Group F, and as a result, have moved up four places in the UEFA U-21 rankings from 23rd to 19th – their highest ever ranking. Waterford natives John O’Shea and Alan Reynolds are also part of the backroom team.


FAI President Gerry McAnaney and former Waterford referee Dick O’Hanlon making the draw for the first round of the FAI Senior Cup where Waterford FC will face St. Patrick’s Athletic and Villa face Maynooth University Town. Both games will be away from home. Photo: FAI Twitter

Waterford FC have received a tough draw in the first round proper of the Extra.ie FAI Senior Cup after Danny Searle’s side were paired with the 2021 champions St. Patrick’s Athletic, with the tie set to be played at Richmond Park on the weekend of July 31.

Waterford’s Niall O’Keeffe in action against St Pat’s Ronan Coughlan in last year’s Premier Division. They’ll meet again in this season’s FAI Cup. Photo: Inpho/Ken Sutton.

After the Blues lost the semi-final to Bohemians last season, they’ll know that they’ll be up against it when they travel to take on Tim Clancy’s Saints, who are currently sitting fourth in the Premier Division, and when Waterford last won the final back in 1980, they defeated the Inchicore side in the final.
After their brilliant win the first round against Inchicore Athletic with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Adam Heaslip and Dean Walsh, FAI Junior Cup and Waterford Premier League champions Villa will be on the road In the first round.
Conor Coad’s side were the last team to be drawn out of the cup by former Waterford referee Dick O’Hanlon, who made the draw after refereeing the 1997 final between Shelbourne and Derry City, with the Connors Park club set to face Maynooth University Town, who were knocked out of the 2019 cup by Waterford FC.
Dates and confirmation of the official fixtures for the first round will be announced in due course.

FAI Junior Cup champions, Villa FC, will travel to take on Maynooth University Town in the FAI Senior Challenge Cup. Photo: Joe Evans.

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