Castlerea Celtic’s Dominic Bligh has been selected in the preliminary Ireland Squad for next month’s UEFA Regions Cup Qualifiers in Italy.
Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Yesterday Manager Gerry Davis announced the 30 man squad which will be whittled down to 18 players for the qualifiers. Ireland’s qualifying group contains teams from Italy (hosts), Macedonia and Slovenia. This squad, made up of players from Munster and Connacht will be looking to continue Ireland’s excellent showing in the competition. Ireland are currently the holders of the UEFA title – won in July 2015 at Tallaght Stadium by the FAI Eastern Region team.
David Lacey’s header after 10 minutes was enough to claim the title against the Croatian representatives from Zagreb. “It’s probably the best day of my life – it’s unbelievable,” Lacey of Killester United said after the final whistle.
“We’ve tried for so long to win this trophy – we got the silver medal in 2011, and now we got gold.”
“A lot of work went into this,” said skipper Ken Hoey, a postman from Cork who plays for Rockmount FC. “We had to lose first to win it,” added the tenacious skipper with a reference to the 2011 loss to Braga Region in Portugal when Gerry Smith’s Eastern Region side were beaten with a last minute winner by the hosts.
Following two successful trials in the Roscommon and District League Grounds at Lecarrow and in Munster Dominic Bligh and 29 other players were selected. They will now attend training weekends and one or two friendlies before Gerry Davis will announce the final squad for the qualifiers.
The FAI Connacht Munster Region squad is as follows:
Craig Madigan (Fairview Rgs),
Alex Purcell (Carew Park),
Stephen Bradley (Janesboro FC),
Pa Mullins, Gary Neville (Pike Rovers),
Danny O’ Neill (Geraldines FC),
Stephen Mc Namara (Ballynanty Rovers),
Mark Power (College Corinthians),
Kevin O’ Connell (Mayfield FC),
Chris Fox (Douglas Hall FC),
Shane Daly Butz, Sean O’ Callaghan (UCC FC),
Hughie O’ Donovan, Brian Murphy, Mark Horgan, Andrew Gannon (Avondale FC),
Brendan O’ Connell, Ken Hoey (Rockmount FC),
Jimmy Carr, Paul Breen, Chris Higgins (St. Michaels FC),
David Joyce (Clonmel Celtic),
Eoin Hayes, Stephen Kelly (Newmarket Celtic),
Conor Griffin (Calry Bohs),
Damien Shannon (Carbury FC),
Conor Byrne, Cillian Mc Glade (Manulla FC),
David Hoban (Westport Utd),
Dominic Bligh (Castlerea Celtic).