Ireland Under-21s set to face Ukraine in friendly after Gabon match cancelled


Jim Crawford prepares for two friendlies Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Ireland's Under-21 team will play their first friendly match of the June international window against Ukraine in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria on June 16.

The game comes after a previously scheduled match against Gabon was cancelled due to the African side's failure to travel to Austria.

Ireland's head coach, Jim Crawford, has utilized the extra time to prepare his young team for the challenge against Ukraine, who are set to participate in the U21 European Championships in Romania and Georgia. 

The Irish U21s, who will begin their own qualification campaign in September, are keen on using this friendly to gain valuable experience. Five players in the squad also took part in the U19 EURO qualifiers earlier this year.

Midfielder Killian Phillips voiced the team's anticipation, saying, "We're looking forward to the game. It’s probably made us a bit hungrier to play because we didn’t get to play Gabon. The group is really together, this is only our second camp together but we’re all looking for it, we’re all buzzing and we’re all getting along and all heads are switched on for the game on Friday."

He added, "Ukraine are a very good team and that’s the standard we should be looking to compete with. It will be a tough game, we’ve a couple of 17 and 18 year olds in the squad and Ukraine will be older but if you look at the character we showed in the Iceland game we’ll all stick together and it will be a good test for us.”

The game, the first ever meeting between Ireland and Ukraine at the Under-21 level, will kick-off at 5pm Irish time.

Concerning team news, Crystal Palace’s Tayo Adaramola and QPR's Sinclair Armstrong are doubts for tomorrow’s game.

Following the Ukraine match, Ireland U21s will also play an international friendly against Kuwait U22 on June 19, further testing their preparedness for the upcoming season.

Ireland Under-21s Squad
Goalkeepers: Tiernan Brooks (Notts County), Killian Cahill (Brighton & Hove Albion), Josh Keeley (Tottenham Hotspur)

Defenders: James Abankwah (Udinese), Tayo Adaramola (Crystal Palace), Sam Curtis (St. Patrick’s Athletic) James Furlong (Brighton & Hove Albion), Anselmo Garcia MacNulty (Wolfsburg), Sean Grehan (Crystal Palace), Connor O’Riordan (Crewe Alexandra), Sean Roughan (Lincoln City)

Midfielders: Darragh Burns (MK Dons), Dara Costelloe (Burnley), Jack Henry-Francis (Arsenal), Joe Hodge (Wolves), Bosun Lawal (Celtic), Ed McJannet (Lecce), Killian Phillips (Crystal Palace), Harry Vaughan (Hull City)

Forwards: Sinclair Armstrong (QPR), Conor Carty (St. Patrick’s Athletic, on loan from Bolton Wanderers), Dylan Duffy (Lincoln City), Aidomo Emakhu (Millwall), Andrew Moran (Brighton & Hove Albion), Armstrong Oko-Flex (West Ham United), Ollie O’Neill (Derry City, on loan from Fulham)