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Irish U21 boss Crawford 'frustrated' over Eiran Cashin's eligibility delay

The Derby defender wants to play for Ireland but he has still not yet received clearance from Fifa to do so.

Eiran Cashin playing for Derby County.
Eiran Cashin playing for Derby County.
Image: PA

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21 manager Jim Crawford says he is “disappointed and frustrated” at being unable to name Derby County defender Eiran Cashin in his squad for next month’s triple-header of qualifiers for the 2023 European Championships. 

Ireland can secure either automatic promotion or a play-off for the finals in Georgia and Romania across their final three group games next month, but Cashin has not been named in the squad as the paperwork to confirm his transfer from England has not yet been finalised. 

Cashin, a centre-back, was born in England but qualifies for Ireland via a grandparent, and played 18 times in the Championship for Wayne Rooney’s Derby last season. He will link up with the squad this week in the hope he earns the green light from Fifa during the window, and thus be available to face Bosnia, Montenegro, or Italy. 

“It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing”, said Crawford. “We hope we can get it done in time during the camp and get a green jersey on him. It’s out of our hands. Everyone is working behind the scenes to get this over the line, but from my point of view it’s frustrating and disappointed that we are still at this juncture.

“I’m not going to go into it, but as I say, it’s disappointing. These are three huge games for the U21s and you’d like to get your best players there. Unfortunately there are quite a few people involved in the process, and where we are at now is a race against time to get him across the line for us.” 

Crawford described Cashin only being cleared to play the final game against Italy as “the worst-case scenario.”

“There was a case of a wrong document handed in which caused a problem, there’s been family holidays, there was another issue, among others. It is what it is. We haven’t been able to name him in the squad but he’ll be coming over with the necessary documents on Friday and it’s a race against time. From my end, it’s disappointing and frustrating.”

Cashin is currently not an official member of a 25-man squad for a trio of crucial games against Bosnia, Montenegro, and Italy, with Wolves midfielder Joe Hodge and Crystal Palace full-back Tayo Adaramola among those called up for the first time, along with QPR forward Sinclair Armstrong and Cork City goalkeeper David Harrington. 

jim-crawford Jim Crawford speaks to the media at Abbottstown. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Harrington is one of nine League of Ireland players in the squad, representing nine different clubs: Brian Maher (Derry), Dawson Devoy (Bohemians), Andy Lyons (Shamrock Rovers), Luke McNicholas (Sligo Rovers), David Harrington (Cork City), Darragh Burns (St Patrick’s Athletic) and Liam Kerrigan (UCD). Crawford confirmed the players will not be released for the round of League of Ireland fixtures slated for Friday 10 June, which is four days before the final group game with Italy. Clubs can only seek postponements if they lose two or more players to international action. 

“No it’s an international window, full stop”, said Crawford. “Unfortunately we have to look after the players who are in the group and for me it’s about making sure players are mentally and physically right for the final game against Italy. That could be a winner takes all. For me it’s important they follow our programme leading up to that game. Once they are in the camp, they are in the camp.” 

Hodge is fit to join the U21 squad for the first time: having starred for Ireland in their run to the semi-finals of the U19 Euros in 2019, he has battled a long-term back injury. 

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“We brought him in for an U20s game in the last window and it was a great exercise to see where lads are at. At that point he was on a programme to get back to playing 90 minutes, and he’s done that. He’s played a number of U23s games for the 90 minutes, and his numbers are good. Which is important because of the way we want to play in the three remaining group games. Joe has always been someone I’ve admired.

“He’s a fantastic footballer, you can play through him and he can play higher up the pitch, in that 10 role. He’s got a real tenacity about his game and that’s exactly what we’re looking for here with our midfielders. He is a fantastic addition to what is already an excellent squad.” 

Left-back Adaramola, meanwhile, made his full first-team debut for Crystal Palace in the FA Cup in March. 

“He is highly-regarded there. I spoke to the coaches there and they think he has really high potential.I think  Patrick Vieira has said the same. He’s a really promising player. His pace, how athletic he is, is a real plus for the group.” 

Republic of Ireland U21s Squad
 
Goalkeepers: Brian Maher (Derry City), Luke McNicholas (Sligo Rovers), David Harrington (Cork City).
 
Defenders: Tayo Adaramola (Crystal Palace), Joe Bagan (Cardiff City), Andy Lyons (Shamrock Rovers), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness (Cardiff City), Jake O’Brien (Crystal Palace), Lee O’Connor (Tranmere Rovers).
 
Midfielders: Conor Coventry (West Ham United), Dawson Devoy (Bohemians), Joe Hodge (Wolves), Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth), Conor Noss (Borussia Möchengladbach), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Ross Tierney (Motherwell)

Forwards: 

Forwards: Sinclair Armstrong (QPR), Darragh Burns (St. Patrick’s Athletic), Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion), JJ Kayode (Rotherham United), Liam Kerrigan (UCD), Ollie O’Neill (Fulham), Mipo Odubeko (West Ham United), Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa).

Uefa European U21 Championship Qualifiers – Group F (all times are Irish time)

 Friday, June 3 | Republic of Ireland U21 v Bosnia & Herzegovina U21, Tallaght Stadium, 7.30pm

Monday, June 6 | Republic of Ireland U21 v Montenegro U21, Tallaght Stadium, 5pm

Tuesday, June 14 | Italy U21 v Republic of Ireland U21, Stadio Cino e Lillo Del Duca, Ascoli, Italy, 4.30pm 

 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from FAI HQ, Abbottstown

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