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10.10.2003 at 19:00 La Maladière - Neuchatel Attendance:
Switzerland 0 - 2 Under 21
Referee: Karel Vidlak (CZE) European Qualifier-match

None Jon Walters (61)
Jon Walters (73)
Opening squads
Marco Wölfli (GK)
Philipp Degen
Alain Nef
Luca Denicolà
Mario Eggimann (C)
Alain Rochat
Stephan Lichtsteiner
Xavier Margairaz
André Muff
Thierno Bah
Johan Vonlanthen
Daniel Connor
John Fitzgerald
Stephen Kelly
John Thompson
Patrick Kohlmann
Paul Keegan
Kevin O Connor
Wesley Hoolahan
Sean Thornton
Stephen Elliott
Jon Walters
Diego Benaglio (GK)
Rijat Shala
Patrick Baumann
Önder Cengel
Philippe Montandon
Steve von Bergen
Kim Jaggy
Joe Kendrick
Wayne Henderson
Glenn Whelan
Adrian Deane
William Flood
Ian Simpemba
Eamon Zayed
Cengel for Muff 46 mins,
Baumann for Margairaz 46 mins
Shala for Bah 77 mins,
Adrian Deane -> Jon Walters (81)
Glenn Whelan -> Kevin O Connor (92)
Yellow cards
None Patrick Kohlmann (90)
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report

Pictures from the match
Givens gets chance to experiment with U-21s

Friday, October 10, 2003

By Bill George
SHELBOURNE winger Wesley Hoolahan and Waterford goalkeeper Dan Connor will be given the opportunity to raise the profile of the eircom League when Ireland play Switzerland tonight in the final match of their European U-21 qualifying tournament.

Manager Don Givens will introduce Blackburn Rovers centre-back John Fitzgerald and Bolton centre-forward Jon Walters to international football at this level for the first time in a selection that is experimental.

Ireland, with just five points from their seven qualifying matches, have no chance of making it to the finals and Givens has taken the opportunity to promote a number of players with a view to developing a team for the next tournament.

As well, Ireland will play in the World Cup finals at U-20 level in the United Arab Emirates in November and with 14 of the 18 players on duty here eligible for selection it will be an important opportunity for them to further their cases for selection. The selection of Hoolahan is significant because Givens has played him in nine internationals to date and he has been virtually a fixture on this team since he came of age.

It raises the obvious question as to why he is still playing in Ireland when so many Irish players in his age bracket have already been several years with professional clubs in England. Givens has regularly stated his primary function is to identify future senior internationals so it is clear he believes Hoolahan has this sort of potential.

He dealt with this apparent conundrum squarely on the flight from Dublin to Basel yesterday when he said:

"I am surprised he is still in Ireland to be honest. I think he was a little unfortunate in the match in Scotland (last February) when I had spoken to a lot of people to come and watch him.

"The season had just finished in Ireland and it was two or three weeks since he had played so he was not at his sharpest

"I think he would definitely be suited to the continental way of playing. He would probably have more success on the continent because he is technically very good.

"I see the potential in him to become a senior international but it is a question of whether Brian (Kerr) can equate what happens in the eircom league to international football. Most of the lads in the first team squad are playing in Premier League so that will be difficult for Wesley if he stays in Ireland."

Givens was just as enthusiastic about the two new caps: "Jon Walters is a big strong lad who knows where the goal is, as does Stephen Elliott who has been scoring for fun in training. There is definitely potential for goals there.

"John Fitzgerald is a player I have seen play at U-20 level and he has looked a very composed centre-back. He is getting a try out in this match and I am hopeful he will prove an important player for us."

IRELAND: D Connor (Waterford); S Kelly (Spurs), J Thompson (Nottingham Forest), J Fitzgerald (Blackburn Rovers), P Kohlmann (Borussia Dortmund); S Thornton (Sunderland), P Keegan (Leeds Utd), K O Connor (Brentford), W Hoolahan (Shelbourne); S Elliott (Manchester City), J Walters (Bolton Wanderers).
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