*Eoin Hayes (right) is the only Clare representative included. 

NEWMARKET CELTIC’S Eoin Hayes has been included in the Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming UEFA Regions Cup qualifiers.

An eighteen man squad has been named by Republic of Ireland amateur international manager, Gerry Davis with Clare’s Hayes among the most experienced players included. 14 Regions Cup debutants form part of the squad, having impressed in the recent four-match winning streak in back-to-back matches against Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rockmount’s Brendan O’Connell is set to captain the side having been one of only two players selected to have won the Regions Cup in 2015, the other being St. Michael’s midfielder Jimmy Carr.

Hayes both captained and scored for his country in their recent game with Northern Ireland. He first lined out with the national side in 2016 and has been an ever-present part of the squad since. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native is one of the few players with Regions Cup experience and is considered as one of Davis’ strongest attacking options.

Ireland travel to Bulgaria later this month for their UEFA Regions Cup qualifying matches as they look to secure a finals tournament spot which is set to take place next summer. They take on San Marino on Tuesday, October 25, with kick-off at 9am, Romania on Friday, October 28, with kick-off at 9am and finally, Bulgaria on Monday, October 31, with kick-off at 1pm.

This will be the first edition of the UEFA Regions Cup since the 2018/19 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Davis is looking forward to the challenge as he looks for the balance between youth and experience in his squad.

He said, “We’re delighted with the way the team has progressed in the last four matches, not just because we’ve won all of the matches but also the way the players have taken on instructions and formed a real bond in the squad. We’ve got plenty of debutants to the Regions Cup in the squad but also a number of players who featured in 2017 and two who were part of the 2015 Regions Cup winning squad so the benefit of that experience will be invaluable to the younger players in the squad.

“We can be confident heading to Bulgaria at the end of the month and the players should be looking forward to the challenge. There is a great geographical spread in the squad with players from all over the country travelling and we’ve got six players on stand-by as well. Congratulations to all of the players on their call-up and also sympathies with the lads who just missed out on the final squad who’ve been brilliant over the last four matches”.

Republic of Ireland Squad – UEFA Regions Cup Qualifying

Goalkeepers: Brendan O’Connell (Rockmount), Gary Cunningham (Westport United)

Defenders: Adam Crowley (Rockmount), Jack McMullen (Home Farm), Jack Parke (Bonagee United), Aaron Humphries (Kilbarrack United), Lee McColgan (Cockhill Celtic), Chris Smith (Aisling Annacotty).

Midfielders: Stephen Chambers (Killester Donnycarney), Eoin Murphy (Rockmount), Luke Casey (Rockmount), Nathan Broderick (Rockmount), AJ O’Connor (Fairview Rangers), Jimmy Carr (St. Michael’s)

Forwards: Eoin Hayes (Newmarket Celtic), Sam Burgess (Killester Donnycarney), Shane Stritch (Bluebell United), Jimmy McHugh (Oliver Bond Celtic).

Six players have also been selected for the stand-by list and they are as follows: Mark Power (Cobh Wanderers), Mikey Fox (Salthill Devon), Adam Conway (Villa FC), Glen Daly (Malahide United), Adam Murphy (Coachford AFC), Jack Kelly (Kilbarrack United).

Fixtures – UEFA Regions Cup Qualifying

25/10 – Ireland v San Marino, 9am
28/10 – Ireland v Romania, 9am
31/10 – Ireland v Bulgaria, 1pm

All matches to be played at Albena, Bulgaria.

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