Dundalk playmaker Jamie McGrath called up for Ireland under-21 Euro qualifiers

Mon, Sep 03 2018

McGrath lifted the EA Sports Cup with Dundalk last season. Credit: Brian F Smyth

Jamie McGrath has been called up to the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad for the first time ahead of the European Championship qualifiers with Kosovo and Germany.

The Dundalk playmaker is one of three League of Ireland players on the panel – Derry City duo Rory and Ronan Hale are the others – ahead of Friday’s game at Kosovo in Mitrovica.

Noel King’s squad are also set to face group leaders Germany in Tallaght on Tuesday, September 11th in a game that could go a long way to deciding Ireland’s fate.

Ireland are currently second in the group, three points behind Germany with Friday’s game in hand but with a vastly inferior goal difference.

 “It’s great news to receive and I’m delighted to be in the squad,” McGrath told Dundalk’s official website.

“It’s a great achievement to be selected while still playing in the league, representing the club. I have been on all the preliminary squads so far so to get your chance is great.

“Stephen Kenny told me about a week ago that I was in the preliminary squad but didn’t think much more about it.

“I was in the gym then on Sunday when I notice I had a missed call from Stephen and when I rang him back he gave me the good news. It was great news to receive and he was as delighted as me.

“My Mam and Dad were looking up last minute flights to Kosovo and I think there’ll be a good few from Athboy heading to Tallaght Tuesday week.

“I just want show what I can do and prove that I deserve a place in the squad. Hopefully I can get some minutes and gather some more valuable experience.”

McGrath will miss Dundalk's FAI Cup quarter-final away to Limerick on Friday as a result of his inclusion.

The Boys in Green beat Kosovo at home on the opening day thanks to Mide Shodipo’s goal, but the Kosovans have beaten Norway and drawn with Germany already on home soil.

West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has opted out of the games, but Manchester United goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara has been released from the senior squad to take part.

Republic of Ireland under-21 squad v Kosovo & Germany:

Goalkeepers: Kieran O'Hara (Manchester United, loan Macclesfield Town), Liam Bossin (Nottingham Forest).

Defenders: Danny Kane (Cork City FC, loan AFC Fylde), Ryan Sweeney (Stoke City, loan Mansfield United), Liam Kinsella (Walsall), Connor Shaughnessy (Leeds United), Ryan Delaney (Rochdale), Corey Whelan (Liverpool, loan Crewe Alexandra).

Midfielders: Jake Mulraney (Hearts), Jamie McGrath (Dundalk), Ryan Manning (QPR, loan Rotherham United), Harry Charsley (Everton), Josh Cullen (West Ham United, loan Charlton Athletic), Rory Hale (Derry City).

Forwards: Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Joe Quigley (Maidstone), Reece Grego-Cox (Crawley Town), Ronan Hale (Birmingham City, loan Derry City).

Fixtures - UEFA U21 European Championships Qualifying

07/09/2018 - Kosovo v Republic of Ireland, 6pm (7pm local time), Stadioni Adam Jashari, Mitrovica
11/09/2018 - Republic of Ireland v Germany, 6pm, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin