Things Are Looking Up for The...

Things Are Looking Up for The Young Boys In Green

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What a snap by INPHO's Oisin Keniry of the celebrations by the Republic of Ireland Under 21s following their late late victory over Azerbaijan at Tallaght stadium.

And what a week for the man leading those celebrations Declan Rice.

A week away with the senior team in Turkey ended with a man-of-the-match performance on his debut for Martin O’Neill’s side.

The 19 year old led his team mates in the celebration of Shaun Donnellan's goal late in the game in Tallaght.

And what a goal it was.

No Joy for the Irish under 19's beaten 4 nil in Portugal though.

They miss out on European championship qualification but Ireland's under 17s will be among the top seeds when the draw for this summer's finals is made next week.

Colin O'Brien's side completed their qualifying campaign with a 100 per cent record following their 1-nil win over Poland.

Thanks to a second half penalty from Tottenhams Troy Parrott.

They have some record and it's a panel that is surely on Martin O Neill's watchlist.

In their six games, Ireland only conceded one goal.

They might have left it late, but the Republic of Ireland under-21s kept up the pressure on Germany in European Championship qualifying Group 5. 

That goal from Yeovil defender Shaun Donnellan - six minues into added time in Tallaght, giving Noel King's side a 1-nil win over bottom side Azerbaijan would grace any arena.

These are all important results as Martin O'Neill rebuilds our senior capability which is as they say 'in transition'.

A reminder of the times we are in, comes amid speculation that John O'Shea is nearing the end of his career.

The Sunderland captain will call apparantly call time on his 19-year playing career in May.

The Black Cats, who are currently lying bottom of the Championship, play their final League game on May 6 and O’Shea is not expected to make his decision public until then.

The 36-year-old will retire as one of the most decorated players in Irish football history, having collected 14 leading honours over the course of his career.

The defender signed professional terms with Manchester United in August 1998 and he made his debut for the club just over a year later, away to Aston Villa in a Worthington Cup defeat.

O'Shea went on to make nearly 400 appearances for the Red Devils, helping them win five Premier League titles and the Champions League, before he completed a move to Sunderland in 2011.

The Waterford native won his first cap for Ireland against Croatia in August 2001 and scored his first international goal against Australia in August 2003.

The Ferrybank man went on to make 116 appearances for his country and went on to play in Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

Always a pleasure to deal with, he has had a brilliant career.

Martin O'Neill needs more men like him. 


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