Ireland under 21 manager Jim Crawford is confident that Andrew Moran will pick up his first senior cap in the next week after he was called up to the first team on Tuesday.
Speaking on this morning’s press conference ahead of tomorrow’s crucial Euro 2025 qualifier against Norway, Crawford portrayed mixed feelings as he is absolutely delighted for Moran to receive his first senior call up but is also disappointed to lose his talisman ahead of two huge games.
With doubts over Evan Fergsuon, Jamie McGrath, Chiedozie Ogbene and Will Smallbone’s fitness , Stephen Kenny decided it was the right time to bring in the inform Moran. Andrew (who is on loan at Blackburn Rovers) was set to make his senior debut against Gibraltar last month but an ankle injury delayed his dream.
“It’s a little bit of mixed feelings but ultimately it’s about the player and I’m delighted for Andy. He’s been exceptional in his games for Blackburn and we sorta knew it wouldn’t be too long before he’d get that senior call up and sort of piecing together your game plan and obviously Andy would be central to that.”
“But he’s got the call up and we were made aware that a number of players in the senior team were waiting on scan results so we knew Andy was next in.”
With Moran gone from the camp, Crawford had the difficult decision of deciding on a replacement. St Patricks Athletic midfielder Adam Murphy was chosen after he was originally selected for Tom Mohan’s under 19’s squad.
“The knock on effect from that was that we had a discussion with Tom Mohan and the 19’s about us bringing in Adam Murphy and we knew we had to intercept him before he made that flight to Albania.”
“After the cup final he was travelling with a couple of the other players a day later. It obviously had knock on effects for Tom’s group but as you saw yesterday they put in a great performance against the host nation in Albania, so we were delighted for them.”
The under 19’s had a great start to qualifying defeating Albania 3-1 with a brace from Mark O’Mahony and a goal from Man of the Match Franco Umeh.
On tomorrow’s opponents Crawford said , “They are a very technical team , full of outstanding players. They’re an immensely talented side and we spoke to a couple of locals who have them as strong favourites but that’s certainly not how we are viewing it. It makes for a very exciting contest.”
Norway currently sit fourth in the group three points behind Ireland who are top of the table after winning their first three games. Norway’s only loss came against a very strong Italian squad who the Irish face at Turners Cross next Tuesday.
Norwich winger Tony Springett is the only doubt for Friday’s game in Drammen.
“Tony Springett came in with a bit of a twinge on his back and obviously with the surface we were playing on we are very much minding Tony at the moment but other than that everybody else is fine,” said the Irish manager.
Ireland will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the table with victory on Friday. Kick off at the Marienlyst Stadion is 5pm. (Irish time)