Richard Dunne: 'It's not impossible to qualify for Euro 2024 but it’s difficult'

Richard Dunne believes that Ireland’s quest to qualify for Euro 2024 is not ‘impossible’, but will be difficult to achieve.

Stephen Kenny’s men have been drawn in a group that includes France, Netherlands, Greece and Gibraltar as they seek to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 2016.

And Dunne, 43, believes it can be achieved – but admits the Boys in Green face a stiff test in their quest to do so.

“I think if you look back, there’s not many Irish sides who’d have fancied that group,” he said at the launch of the National Underage League’s this week. “It’s difficult.

“The goal is to qualify, that’s the be-all and end-all of it, but there has to be a bit of realism about who we’re playing.

“It’s a tough, tough, group to get out from. If we do, brilliant. If not, it’ll come down to performances. Ireland have improved over the last while - the last couple of games no - but before that we improved, started to score goals, started to pick up better results.

“There is a huge shift from where we were two or three years ago to what we are now. We’re going in the right direction.

“Having players like Evan (Ferguson) being able to get into the squad will hopefully be the finishing touches to what’s been built.”

Previously, Dunne was part of an Ireland squad that qualified for the 2002 World Cup that included a group with the Dutch.

And despite Ireland having more Premier League experience back then, he believes Ireland can .

“It can happen,” he insists. “The Ireland squad that I was in had a lot more Premier League experience to what we currently do.

“We’ve got a lot of young players finding their way at international football, still trying to cement places in teams around England. The number of new players is huge. It takes a long time.

“We still need that game know-how from players to see games out, and every game they play, they’ll experience that little bit more.

“Look at the Dutch side, the French side, where they are at the moment, right at the top of world football so it’s not impossible (to qualify) but it’s difficult.” 

Richard Dunne was speaking at the launch of the EA Sports League of Ireland Academy Development Programme