Jim Crawford’s Ireland set for friendly triple header ahead of Euro qualifiers

Ireland U-21 manager Jim Crawford

Sean O'Connor

Ireland’s U-21s will face a triple-header of friendlies against Gabon U-23s, Ukraine’s U-21s and Kuwait’s U-22s next month during a 10-day camp in Austria.

The three games will be Jim Crawford’s side’s last tests before they begin their U-21 Euro 2025 qualification campaign at home to Turkey and San Marino in September.

Former U-23 African Cup of Nations winner Gabon will come up against the Young Boys in Green having won each of their last four games.

Ukraine’s U-21s have been defeated once in their last five outings and will take part in this summer's U-21 Euros, while Kuwait’s U-22s have lost each of their last four.

The Austrian camp follows Ireland’s 2-1 friendly win over Iceland at Turner’s Cross last March, with Everton’s Tom Cannon and Celtic’s Johnny Kenny (on loan at Shamrock Rovers) both on the scoresheet in Cork.

Thirteen previously uncapped players were called up for that squad and U-21 boss Crawford says there will be further new faces added next month.

“There will be some new faces in the squad, some players from this season’s U-19s and some players who were part of our squads in the last campaign who weren’t with us in March, everyone will have a chance to impress,” said Crawford.

“We look forward to meeting up because these games will be so important for our preparations for the qualifiers in September.

“There’s a lot of quality in our opposition, Ukraine are about to play at the U-21 European Championships, Gabon are preparing for the U-23s African Cup of Nations then it’s an U-22s side in Kuwait, who only last year were playing at the U-23s Asian Cup and have already played three times as a group this year.

“We’re going to be coming up against three teams from three different continents who will all have their own style and it’s for us to overcome those challenges.”

Ireland U-21 international friendly fixtures

(venues and kick-off times to be confirmed)

Tuesday, June 13 | Ireland U-21 v Gabon U-23

Friday, June 16 | Ukraine U-21 v Ireland U-21

Monday, June 19 | Ireland U-21 v Kuwait U-22

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