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Sligo Rovers defender John Mahon named in Ireland U21 training squad

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Sligo Rovers defender John Mahon named in Ireland U21 training squad

Sligo Rovers defender John Mahon pictured in action against Limerick last season

Sligo Rovers centre-back John Mahon has this afternoon been named by manager Stephen Kenny in the Republic of Ireland U21 squad for a training camp in February.

Mahon, who graduated to the Sligo Rovers first team from the club's youth teams previously played with Ballisodare United and was one of the star performers for the Bit O'Red last year as they endured a turbulent campaign.

Mahon signed his first professional contract in 2017 and last June signed a two year deal on the back of some excellent performances.

After committing to the Bit O'Red last summer Mahon said: "I want to do the best I can for the club. It means a lot to me to play for my local club and play in the league. The step up from Under-19 is that it’s much quicker and sharper but I can handle the physicality. In training I work hard to get better and keep improving. I know I’m young but I want to keep progressing and progressing."

The impressive form shown by Mahon last season obviously caught the eye of then Dundalk manager who is now the Ireland U21 manager.

The majority of the U-21 training camp squad has been selected from the SSE Airtricity League with two players selected from the Northern Irish Premiership in Crusaders striker Ronan Hale and Linfield striker Michael O'Connor.  

All of the players are eligible for the upcoming UEFA U-21 European Championships campaign, which starts in March against Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium. 

The training squad will take on the Ireland Amateur team in a friendly game at Whitehall Stadium on Wednesday, February 6 at 7.45pm.

Included in the Ireland amateur squad is Niall Brennan who currently plays for Sligo side Carbury having previously played with Boyle Celtic. Shane Ryan and Jimmy Carr from Tipperary side St Michael's who both impressed in their side's FAI Junior Cup victory over Manor Rangers last December have also been included in the amateur squad. 

Kenny has also named his backroom team for the upcoming campaign. Keith Andrews, former Ireland international who is part of the current FAI UEFA Pro Licence course, will become assistant coach alongside Jim Crawford, who leaves his role as Ireland Under-18 Head Coach. Former League of Ireland winner Dan Connor will continue his role of goalkeeping coach with the U-21s. 

Damien Doyle will join as the Strength and Conditioning Coach, Gary Seery comes in as Performance Analyst with the medical staff being Ronan Kearney, Team Doctor, and Kevin Mulholland, physiotherapist. 

Kenny has also announced that the U-21s will take part in the 2019 Toulon Tournament. Ireland have previously competed in the tournament six times and will travel to France in June.

Republic of Ireland U-21 Training squad
Goalkeepers: Conor Kearns (UCD), Ross Treacy (Dundalk)
Defenders: Andy Lyons (Bohemians), Darragh Leahy (Bohemians), Conor McCarthy (Cork City), Trevor Clarke (Shamrock Rovers), Liam Scales (UCD), John Mahon (Sligo Rovers).
Midfielders: Dan Mandriou (Bohemians), Aaron Bolger (Shamrock Rovers), JJ Lunney (Waterford), Jamie Lennon (St. Patrick's Athletic), Brandon Kavanagh (Shamrock Rovers), Robbie McCourt (Bohemians).
Forwards: Ronan Hale (Crusaders), Neil Farrugia (UCD), Michael O'Connor (Linfield), Will Fitzgerald (Limerick), Zach Elbouzedi (Waterford), Karl O'Sullivan (Limerick).