Local lads busy in international games

Seen and Heard

Published 02/04/2016 | 00:00

Kevin O'Connor added to his collection of international Under-21 caps in the R.S.C. in Waterford on Thursday, but it wasn't a good night for the Republic of Ireland as Group 2 leaders Italy romped to a 4-1 win in their UEFA championship qualifying round clash.

The Curracloe native nearly created a goal in the 73rd minute at a stage when his team trailed 3-1, whipping a corner into a dangerous area. The Italian 'keeper came to claim it but dropped the cross at the feet of Conor Wilkinson, who could only lift his shot over the crossbar.

O'Connor, who was replaced by Seán Hoare, travelled with the squad to take on Slovenia in Koper yesterday (Monday).

He has figured prominently with Cork City in Premier Division action over the past fortnight, and is all set to link up more regularly with New Ross native and ex-St. Patrick's Athletic midfielder Greg Bolger, who has returned after suspension.

Another former Curracloe United player, Liam Donnelly, is building on the progress he made late last season when he made his debut with Drogheda United. Donnelly, who also served a recent suspension, will be aiming to haul the Wee county side out of the First Division after last season's relegation.

Meanwhile, former Good Counsel College all-rounder Thomas O'Connor is on Republic of Ireland Under-17 head coach Tom Mohan's squad for this week's UEFA championships elite round Group 7 tournament in Poland.

The Southampton player has returned from an injury that hampered his progress earlier in the campaign. Ireland played Serbia in Pruszkow yesterday (Monday) and will meet Montenegro in Siedice on Wednesday at 1 p.m., and Poland back in Pruszkow on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Another Wexford lad, Gorey's Conor Levingston, was on the 20-strong Republic of Ireland Under-18 squad for the behind closed doors friendly against England at St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, on Sunday. The Wolves clubman was involved in Paul Doolin's final fixture with the under-age international sides after the head coach decided to step down after a six-year tenure.

And while England won 4-1, it was a good day all the same for Levingston as he scored the consolation goal in the 53rd minute after coming off the bench. He nearly doubled his tally five minutes later when the netminder made a fine save.

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