Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane gave Tom Mohan’s Under 17 hopefuls last week a pleasant surprise by turning up at their training camp at Everton FC’s training ground, Finch Farm.
The Under 17s were partaking in a three day training camp in Liverpool ahead of their upcoming UEFA elite mini-group qualifiers in late March, when they face Germany, Georgia and hosts Serbia aiming for top spot and a place in the Euro finals.
The move reinforces Keane’s intention to get involved in all aspects of the game in Ireland upon his appointment as Ireland’s assistant manager last November. The foundations for Keane’s visit were laid in December when Keane and Martin O’Neill met with all FAI underage managers to discuss plans for the upcoming year at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown. Keane has since liaised with U17 manager Tom Mohan on being present during the camp.
The legendary Ireland midfielder gave an inspirational speech at Ireland’s team base, lasting over an hour to the young hopefuls on his playing career, and opportunities he grasped from a young age. He then watched on as the team took on Everton’s academy squad in a spirited display, which saw them lose 3-2 to their hosts.
Templeogue United’s Steven Kinsella reaped the rewards of the trip, with the winger signing for Everton the following day after netting for Ireland during the game.
Speaking after the trip, Republic of Ireland U17 manager Tom Mohan said, ‘It was an absolute pleasure to have Roy along to our training camp in Everton. He made an inspirational speech to the lads, which saw them energised ahead of their clash against Everton Tuesday. The result didn’t go our way, but they pulled together and put n a fantastic display. I’m looking forward to working with Roy again in future.’
Ireland U17s host Austria in a double header friendly on March 4 and 6 ahead of the UEFA Elite phase in Serbia.