The Republic of Ireland Amateur team will hope to go one-step further this time around in the UEFA Regions Cup- by winning it.
Ireland, captained by James Walsh of St. Michael’s (Tipperary town), the country’s the most capped male amateur player, went all the way to the Final of this prestigious competition for the first time in Portugal in 2011.
Before that goal can be reached, they will have to win a qualifying group that also consists of England, Northern Ireland and San Marino in San Marino between March 6-10.
Along with James Walsh in Portugal was teammate Christopher Higgins and both are in a 33-man squad that is currently preparing with training sessions every Saturday between now and March at the AUL Complex, Dublin.
A third St. Michael’s player, Jimmy Carr, who made his debut earlier this season against Scotland at Cooke Park, Tipperary, joins them. Missing from the squad is St. Michael’s player Paul Breen, who is battling a back injury this season.
Adrian Walsh from Carrick United who was part of the team that reached the 2011 decider is also included in a squad selected by Irish Amateur manager Gerry Smith that consists of just 13 Junior League players from a panel of 33. The majority of the squad comes from the Leinster Senior League (16); Dublin AUL Junior League (7); Munster Senior League (4); TSDL (3); Waterford (1); Kilkenny (1) and Limerick (1).
Unlike the Junior International scene where former players with League of Ireland experience can participate once regraded, players in this competition must NEVER have played professional or semi-professional football.
The Leinster and Munster Provinces defeated Connaught and Ulster 2-0 for the right to fly the flag for the Republic of Ireland once again in this UEFA competition for amateur players. The games will take place on the following dates in San Marino:
06/03/2013: England versus Rep. of Ireland
08/03/2013: San Marino versus Rep. of Ireland
10/03/2013: Northern Ireland versus Rep. of Ireland