Celtic receive injury boost as Ireland U19s start two Hoops prospects
Celtic have received a welcome injury boost, as B Team striker Johnny Kenny was named for the Ireland U19 squad to face Portugal tonight.
Bosun Lawal, himself having recovered from a lay-off, starts at the back for the Boys in Green, who face a formidable Portugal side [Flashscore].
Kenny had to be stretchered off against England, having taken a sore one from Three Lions ‘keeper Matthew Cox. It looked as though the Celtic January signing would be laid off for a while, having only just recovered from niggling fitness issues.
However, Flashscore has him and Lawal starting against the Portuguese, despite looking as though he wouldn’t make it being taken off against England.
Ireland U19 manager Tom Mohan was far from happy. As quoted by the Examiner, he said: “England’s goalkeeper was the last man back and he clearly caught Johnny. Playing against an England side with 10 men would have made it a different game but we still had them on the ropes in their own backyard.
“We pinned England back and dominated them in stages of the second half. We created plenty of chances but needed one to go in because I thought we could have pushed them for the last 15 minutes. It’s a sore one to take.”
For Bosun Lawal, who missed the game against England, it’s a big opportunity. The Celtic B team defender has been routinely excellent for Tommy McIntyre’s side. He was compared to Virgil van Dijk by Celtic legend Tom Boyd for his display against Rangers B.
Big Ireland chance for Celtic youngsters Kenny and Lawal
Though it’s U19s football, it’s still international exposure for two hotly-tipped Celtic prospects.
Lawal could well be a first-team player before too long. He and Dane Murray are tipped to make it over the next couple of years, with a report in The Athletic saying: “Bosun Lawal is very well-regarded too, and there is enthusiasm about the possibility of [Murray and Lawal’s] solid partnership extending to first-team level over the next few years.”
For Johnny Kenny, his route looks similarly exciting. He made his B Team debut not too long ago, and scored in the process. Just 18, his form for Sligo Rovers, and his excellent attitude, mark him out as a Celtic youngster with real potential.
Alongside the likes of Adam Brooks and Joey Dawson, there’s real excitement about the centre-forward options beyond Celtic’s youth team. That hasn’t been the case for quite a while.
Still, there’s the considerable task of Portugal before any of that.
We’ll be cheering on Kenny and Lawal as they embark on another test for Ireland’s U19s.