St Francis trio in Irish side

by Gazette Reporter
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NEWLY appointed Republic of Ireland U-16’s head coach Paul Osam announced his squad for the upcoming Victory Shield last week and three St Francis players made the cut.
Cian Hughes, James Jennings and Thomas Caffrey, all brought up and schooled on the pristine pitches of John Hyland Park will don the green jersey for the five-day tournament in November.
Speaking after his squad announcement, Osam revealed what he is looking for in the tournament from his players. “I’m looking to learn about the players that we’ve selected this time around,” he said. “But all of the players who are eligible should know that it’s a long process and not just a squad for this tournament. It’s about working with the players so that we have a squad to hand over to Tom Mohan for the UEFA Under-17 qualifiers next season.
“It’s important that the boys understand the system and the philosophy set down by the association.
“We have given them a framework to play within but we can’t be too restrictive and we want them to express themselves when the time is right.
“We’ll look to bed that in over the three games. It’s not about winning the Victory Shield although it’s always nice to win.
The goal for these players is to play in the UEFA Championships Qualifiers with Tom Mohan next season and this is part of that process,” added Osam.
The former St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers defender will see his side take on Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland in the reformed Victory Shield. Earlier this year, England decided to pull out of the competition that used to play out over a series of months, making it a four-team competition, and the decision was made to pack all the action into one week, with this year’s edition taking place in Wales.
Hughes, Jennings and Caffrey are part of a Francis side who won back to back SFAI titles in 2013-14 under the guidance of Mark Connolly.
The side have gained plenty of plaudits for the style of football they have produced from a young age in Baldonnel.
Others players relatively local included in the squad are Luke Nolan and Luke O’Brien. Nolan is on the books at St Patrick’s Athletic while O’Brien is a Crumlin United man.
There is further local interest around this squad due to the fact that when Osam was announced as head coach early in December, he named Clondalkin local Mark Connors as his goalkeeping coach.
Connors began his coaching career at Liffey Valley Rangers, eventually becoming the club’s director of football before taking up his current post as Longford Town’s Under-19s head coach.

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