Celtic youngster Barry Coffey an unused sub in Ireland under-19 Euro opener
Highly-rated Celtic talent Barry Coffey made the bench for the Republic of Ireland under-19s in their European Championship opener.
The Irish faced Norway on Monday as they opened up their campaign, and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Unfortunately, however, Coffey didn’t play a single minute of the contest. He was an unused substitute, with Joe Hodge and captain Lee O’Conner anchoring the midfield.
It didn’t help Coffey’s chances that it was a Hodge screamer that sealed a point for the Irish. But the experience of being at the competition will be a big boost for the Celtic youngster.
Ireland next face France tomorrow in their second of three group stage matches. They will finish their group stage campaign against Czech Republic on Sunday.
Whether Coffey gets a chance to impress in either of those matches remains to be seen. He’s the only current Celtic youth prodigy away to the tournament, however, and that alone speaks volumes of his talent.
Regular under-19 and fellow Celt Luca Connell wasn’t chosen to head to the competition. Reasons for that hadn’t been revealed, but after being called up to the senior Irish squad last month, it could be a case of promoting him from the under-19 age group.
A big experience for Barry Coffey
Make no mistake, this is a big experience for young Celt Coffey. Even if he doesn’t play a single minute, being around international talent at his age group will only help his development.
Coffey has yet to feature for the Celtic senior side, but he remains one of the big group of potential breakout stars that we currently have tied to the club.
In the Euro tournament, the winners and runners-up in the four-team groups go through to the semi-finals. There are only two groups in the entire tournament, and Ireland’s point has them in joint-second in group B as it stands.
If Ireland qualify for those semis, there’s no reason to believe Coffey couldn’t be coming back a European Championship winner. With a bit of luck, of course, he’ll get some game-time in the upcoming two games.