Jim Crawford’s Under-21 team will continue to be unbeaten against Luxembourg


Qualifying U21 European Championship: Republic of Ireland v Luxembourg, Tallaght Stadium, Friday, 5.15 p.m.

The Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s will look to extend their unbeaten streak in Group F of the European Championship qualifiers when they host Luxembourg at the Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.

After an impressive 2-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina at Zenica on September 3, Jim Crawford’s side drew 1-1 against Friday’s opponents in Dudelange four days later. Colm Whelan beat the visitors with a goal in the 70th minute, before Luxembourg responded late with a penalty from Dylan Kuete.

In what will be the first U21 international to take place in front of their own fans since November 2019 – with current senior boss Stephen Kenny still in charge – Ireland will look to do better as they aim to put pressure on the Sweden and Italy. at the top.

It will be the first of two qualifying matches to take place during this international window, with Ireland also due to face Montenegro in Podgorica on Tuesday.

Next week’s game could present Crawford with a potential headache, given that Montenegro are currently on the UK and Germany traveling red lists. Under Covid-19 restrictions, any player based in either of these regions would be forced to undergo a period of quarantine before returning to their clubs from the Montenegrin capital.

With 17 squad members falling into that category – and Montenegro not on Ireland’s red list at the moment – Crawford could be forced to bring an all-home selection to Podgorica.

However, he will have plenty of time to choose this evening and will bet on a winning return at home against a team currently rooted at the bottom of the group table.

Team captain Conor Coventry and Gavin Kilkenny have formed an effective midfield partnership in both matches so far and will be central to Ireland’s chances of success.

Although not featured in recent weeks, Kilkenny have made four league appearances for England’s league leaders Bournemouth this season.

Although a number of national faces are waiting for Montenegro’s game, there is already a strong representation of the League of Ireland within Crawford’s setup for the visit of Luxembourg.

Brian Maher (Bray Wanderers), Dawson Devoy (Bohemians) and Whelan (UCD) all saw playing time in the recent standoff with Manuel Cardoni’s men and are expected to play a big role in this reverse match.

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