Northern Ireland’s Men’s Under-17s are playing two games against Greece’s U17s next week as part of their preparations for another set of 2019 U17 Euros qualifiers.
The games against the Greeks are being staged at Stangmore Park in Dungannon on Tuesday 19 February (7pm kick-off) and Shamrock Park in Portadown on Thursday 21 February (1pm).
Northern Ireland U17s manager Stephen Frail has had to shuffle his pack following a raft of injuries.
Ben Wylie (Celtic), who scored a hat-trick for the U17s against San Marino back in the autumn, is out along with fellow striker Ross McCausland. Also missing through injury is goalie David Walsh, while Chelsea’s Sam McClelland is not available due to club commitments on the European stage and Linfield’s Charlie Allen is also unavailable.
It means Frail has included nine new faces in his squad for the two games against Greece as he looks ahead to an elite round of the 2019 U17 Euros qualifiers next month.
Manchester United goalkeeper Dermot Mee is new to the U17s panel along with Coagh United keeper Fintan Coney.
And Wigan Athletic striker MacKenzie O’Neill has received his first call-up along with Rotherham United forward Ciaran McGuckin and Portsmouth frontman Eoin Teggart.
Charlton Athletic midfielder Euan Williams is also among the new faces, while St Oliver Plunkett defender Sean Stewart, who has shone with Club NI and Northern Ireland Schoolboys in recent years, is with the U17s for the first time.
Glenavon duo Oisin Barr (midfielder) and Ross Hunter (forward) have received their first call-ups, too.
The other members of the squad all featured last October when the U17s booked their place in the elite roundby finishing second in their group in stage one of the qualification process. They narrowly lost 1-0 to eventual group winners Slovakia, held host nation Turkey to a 1-1 draw and then hammered San Marino 6-0.
Next month’s elite round of 2019 U17 Euros qualifiers is being staged in Den Haag (The Hague) in the Netherlands. In the mini tournament Frail’s side will be facing the Dutch, Czech Republic and Israel.
The Netherlands v Northern Ireland game is scheduled for Wednesday 20 March at Sportpark Juliana (1900 CET), while Northern Ireland will take on Czech Republic at the same venue on Saturday 23 March (1300 CET).
The U17s’ third and final game in the group, against Israel, has been pencilled in for Tuesday 26 March at Sportpark Zeggersloot (1900 CET).
Eight elite round group winners and the seven runners-up with the best records against the teams that finish first and third in their sections will join hosts Republic of Ireland in the finals from 3 to 19 May.
U17s squad for games against Greece U17s:
Goalkeepers - Dermot Mee (Manchester United), Fintan Coney (Coagh United).
Defenders - Jack Scott (Linfield), Euan Deveney (Kilmarnock), Kyle McClelland (Rangers), John McGivern (Linfield), Sean Stewart (St Oliver Plunkett), Micheal Glynn (Ballinamallard United), Trai Hume (Linfield).
Midfielders - Dylan Boyle (Fleetwood Town), Carl Johnston (Fleetwood Town), Darragh Burns (St Patrick’s Athletic), Barry Crowe-Baggley (Fleetwood Town), Euan Williams (Charlton Athletic), Oisin Barr (Glenavon), Gerard Storey (Portadown).
Forwards – Chris McKee (Rangers), Aaron Brown (Bury), Dale Taylor (Linfield), MacKenzie O’Neill (Wigan Athletic), Ciaran McGuckin (Rotherham United), Peter McKiernan (Cliftonville), Ross Hunter (Glenavon), Eoin Teggart (Portsmouth).
Image: St Oliver Plunkett defender Sean Stewart, seen here in action for Northern Ireland Schoolboys v Australia last month, has received his first call-up to the Northern Ireland U17 squad.