New faces among Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad for Toulon Tournament

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Stephen Kenny has welcomed a number of new faces into his Republic of Ireland U21 squad for the Toulon Tournament.

Stephen Mallon, who was on loan at A-League side Central Coast Mariners from Sheffield United last season, has been called into the 22-man squad for the first time as well as Derby County midfielder Jason Knight, who comes in for the injured Jake Doyle Hayes.

Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly also receives his first call-up having missed the Luxembourg win through injury, while UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns comes into the squad having taken part in the home-based training camp in February.

Barnet midfielder Jack Taylor receives his first international call-up for Ireland. Canice Carroll, who was on loan at Swindon Town last season, has also been brought into the squad for the June tournament.

The squad includes seven Airtricity League players, including three from UCD, Kearns, Liam Scales, and Neil Farrugia.

The tournament, which begins on Monday, June 3, will see Ireland face Bahrain, China, and Mexico in Group C in Provence, France. It will be the first time since 2002 that Ireland have competed in the tournament.

“We’re extremely excited about going to the Toulon tournament and this is a fantastic opportunity for the players to express themselves in one of the most prestigious underage international tournaments,” said Kenny.

“We’ve never qualified for the European Championships at U21 level so this tournament represents the highest level we’d have played at and we’re set to play Mexico, China and Bahrain’s Olympic squads, as they prepare to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

“It’s also crucially important that we continue to build momentum throughout the year after the win over Luxembourg and looking ahead to the qualifiers in October and November.

“I’m delighted to welcome into the squad the likes of Stephen Mallon, Canice Carroll, Jason Knight, Tyreke Wilson and Aaron Connolly who set up to U-21 international level for the first time, and also Jack Taylor, who comes into his first Ireland squad.”

Republic of Ireland U21 Squad

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Conor Kearns (UCD AFC).

Defenders: Darragh Leahy (Bohemians), Conor Masterson (Liverpool), Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Liam Scales (UCD AFC), Lee O’Connor (Manchester United), Tyreke Wilson (Manchester City), Canice Carroll (Brentford).

Midfielders: Jayson Molumby (Brighton and Hove Albion), Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Jason Knight (Derby County), Connor Ronan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Neil Farrugia (UCD AFC), Stephen Mallon (Sheffield United), Zach Elbouzedi (Waterford), Simon Power (Norwich City), Jack Taylor (Barnet), Jamie Lennon (St. Patrick’s Athletic).

Forwards: Adam Idah (Norwich City), Aaron Drinan (Ipswich Town, on loan at Waterford), Aaron Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion).

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