Football/Soccer

Derry City brothers Rory and Ronan Hale retain their places in Republic U21 squad

Brothers Ronan and Rory Hale have made a big impact at Derry City

BROTHERS Rory and Ronan Hale have been named in the Republic of Ireland U21 squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Kosovo and Germany, writes Brendan Crossan.

The Derry City duo are among four League of Ireland players selected in Noel King’s 18-man squad for the double-header with Dundalk midfielder Jamie McGrath earning a call-up after his excellent displays for the Lilywhites this season while Danny Kane, on-loan at Cork City, is the other player plying his trade in the domestic league.

Rory Hale, who was released by Aston Villa last year, has shown that playing in the domestic league is no barrier to gaining international honours as he continues to perform at a high level for the Candystripes.

His younger brother Ronan, on-loan at Derry from Birmingham City, has also impressed at the Brandywell club. Both Hales scored in Ireland’s 3-1 win over Iceland back in March.

Ireland are currently second in Group Five behind Germany in top spot having played one game less and ahead of Kosovo in third spot.

"The players are really looking forward to the week ahead and the squad are excited about the fixtures,” said King.

“They've got ourselves into a great position going into the games and they'll look to secure more crucial points in these next two games," Noel King said.

"I'd like to welcome Jamie McGrath into the U21 squad for the first time. He's a player I've been watching for some time and has really impressed for Dundalk this season.”

Republic of Ireland U21 squad v Kosovo and Germany

Goalkeepers: Kieran O'Hara (Manchester United, loan Macclesfield Town), Liam Bossin (Nottingham Forest).

Defenders: Danny Kane (Cork City FC, loan AFC Fylde), Ryan Sweeney (Stoke City, loan Mansfield United), Liam Kinsella (Walsall), Connor Shaughnessy (Leeds United), Ryan Delaney (Rochdale), Corey Whelan (Liverpool, loan Crewe Alexandra).

Midfielders: Jake Mulraney (Hearts), Jamie McGrath (Dundalk), Ryan Manning (QPR, loan Rotherham United), Harry Charsley (Everton), Josh Cullen (West Ham United, loan Charlton Athletic), Rory Hale (Derry City).

Forwards: Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Joe Quigley (Maidstone), Reece Grego-Cox (Crawley Town), Ronan Hale (Birmingham City, loan Derry City).

Euro Qualifying fixtures: Friday: Kosovo v Republic of Ireland, 6pm (7pm local time), Stadioni Adam Jashari, Mitrovica; Next Tuesday: Republic of Ireland v Germany, 6pm, Tallaght Stadium, Dublin

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