The three League of Ireland players to keep an eye on before Ireland’s U21 against Italy and Sweden
It’s a big week for Jim Crawford’s Irish U21s.
This week, Jim Crawford and his Irish U21 team go into a crunching double goal against Italy and Sweden, and both matches are at home in Tallaght Stadium.
After a costly defeat against Montenegro last month, Boys in Green will be very aware that they must win both matches if they are to qualify for the U21 European Championships.
Before the important double match, we take a quick look at the three League of Ireland players who will try to impress on the international stage.
Fresh from a superb playoff win for Bray Wanderers away against Galway United, Brian Maher will try to take his club form on the international stage again.
Maher, formerly of St Patrick’s Athletic, has been a big part of Seagull’s defense for the past two seasons, and it’s been the same for Ireland’s U-21.
Although his talents are no surprise to anyone at this stage, Maher will surely start both U-21 matches as he looks to add to his growing star at home and abroad.
Tierney will leave the Bohemians at the end of the 2021 season for Scottish Motherwell, but he will be hoping he can make the most of his latest international this week.
The 20-year-old Dubliner has been in fine form for Bohs in recent weeks after his move to Scotland was made official – and it is likely that he will play a key role for Crawford’s team against the Italians on Friday.
A terrier-like midfielder, the Ballymun man has shown that he can mix it on the biggest stage with Bohs, and there will be no tougher test than Italy on Friday at U21 level.
Despite that, these are the matches he often enjoys when a big match awaits him on Friday.
A deadly finisher, UCD’s Colm Whelan has shown glimpses of what he can do on the international stage already for Ireland’s U-21, and with his share rising for each passing match.
Whelan, 21, has scored 23 goals in all competitions for UCD so far this season – and one can suspect that he can make a couple more between now and the end, whenever.
It is understood that he is attracting a lot of interest in his services for next season together with his UCD teammate Liam Kerrigan, with Shamrock Rovers and Damien Duff’s Shelbourne understood that they were lurking for the former.
But matches like these against Italy will be a real acid test for Whelan who has shown that he can easily do it at club level. If he can prove he can do it on the international stage against world-class resistance, that stock will rise even higher.
Grab yourself for some brilliant days of live Irish sport (1/2)
Rope for Ireland against Portugal – @ RTE2 & @RTEplayer 19.45
Rope for Ireland U21 against Italy U21 – @ RTE2 & @RTEplayer 17.30
Ireland v USA – @RTEplayer 19.15 pic.twitter.com/4mu8kBaoU7
– RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) November 10, 2021
Read more about: Brian Maher, Colm Whelan, league of ireland first division, league of ireland premier division, Ross Tierney