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Saturday 27 February 2021
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FAI forecast a sell-out as tickets are snapped up for crucial U21 qualifier against Italy

Stephen Kenny’s promising young side are currently top of Group 1 with three wins from three.

Adam Idah celebrates with Dara O'Shea after beating Luxembourg.
Adam Idah celebrates with Dara O'Shea after beating Luxembourg.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE FAI ARE encouraging supporters to buy tickets early for next month’s Euro 2021 qualifier against Italy in order to avoid disappointment, with a sell-out at Tallaght Stadium expected.

Stephen Kenny’s promising young side are currently top of their qualification group after three consecutive wins over Luxembourg, Armenia and Sweden sees them claim first place in Group 1.

Ireland’s U21s have never qualified for a major competition before. However they are making waves to buck that trend for the next European Championships, which are being held in Hungary and Slovenia in two years’ time.

Kenny’s side easily saw off Luxembourg 3-0 back in March, but caught national attention in recent weeks after those back-to-back wins against Armenia in Dublin and away to Sweden.

Having gone a goal down at the Guldfågeln Arena, a double from Tottenham’s 17-year-old striker Troy Parrott and another goal from QPR defender Conor Masterson saw Ireland secure a memorable 3-1 victory.

imago-20190910 Parrott scored two goals off the bench against Sweden as Ireland came from behind to win 3-1. Source: Imago/PA Images

“I have so much admiration for the players in the manner of their performance, because they’ve shown incredible courage,” Ireland boss Kenny said after his side’s victory in Sweden.

“Troy Parrott was amazing to get the two goals that he did — two phenomenal goals. It’s great to witness that here, to see him come on and score two goals like that.

“Conor Masterson, on his 21st birthday, to score — it was the best game I’ve ever seen him play, to be honest. He did really well. I’m delighted with the team.”

Parrott, who has been included in Spurs’ 23-man Champions League squad this season, also found the back of the net against Armenia.

The Dubliner is one of a number of exciting young stars present in Kenny’s squad, with Brighton’s Aaron Connolly, captain Jayson Molumby and Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher also impressing.

Italy will represent Ireland’s biggest test to date. The Azzurri are favourites to secure top spot in Group 1.

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They boast an impressive squad littered with talent like Everton’s Moise Kean, who moved to Goodison Park for €27.5 million, and Patrick Cutrone, who joined Wolves from AC Milan during the summer.

The FAI confirmed that over 2,500 tickets have already been sold for next month’s qualifier on 10 October, with the match expected to attract a record crowd for an Ireland U21 fixture.

Tickets for next months’ Euro 2021 qualifier are €5 for adults, €2 for students/OAPs and are free for U16s, FAI and Shamrock Rovers season ticket holders.

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Aaron Gallagher

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