Image source: Twitter/FAIreland
Manchester United academy defender Lee O’Connor proudly captained the Republic of Ireland side during the group stage of UEFA European Under-19 Championship; however, two yellow cards saw him miss the semi-final against Portugal U19.
Tom Mohan’s side suffered a 0-4 defeat in Yerevan, Armenia and is set return home with two defeats, one victory and one draw.
In the group stage of EURO U19, the Republic of Ireland held a 1-1 draw with Norway, then they suffered a 0-1 defeat by France but eventually could beat the Czech Republic with a score of 2-1 to reach the semi-finals.
Goncalo Ramos’ hat-trick and Victor Ferreira’s goal gave a 4-0 lead to Filipe Ramos’ side but O’Connor is still proud of the boys.
“Obviously, we can all be proud of such a small country in the final four in Europe. The game against Portugal did not go as well as we would like it to be but we are still proud of everything- players and the staff,” the Ireland captain told in an exclusive interview with Vbetnews. “It was a good tournament everyone enjoyed it. I think we have done ourselves proud, we played very well. Not just only on the pitch but of the pitch too as we visited a local orphanage and it was a great experience for all of us.”
O’Connor has admitted tournament’s host country Armenia is not like Ireland but it’s still very nice and very warm.
As the EURO U19 is over for the Republic of Ireland, the defender will head back home and then join his teammates at Manchester United.
The 18-year-old has been registered for the first-team squad for the preparation of the Champions League quarterfinal game against Barcelona. The fullback has established himself as a key versatile option for the Red Devils. He has made more than 83 appearances for United across three different age groups since he joined the Old Trafford side in 2016.
O’Connor revealed what he learnt from his fellow teammates during his time with first-team: “It’s a great experience for me. I just learnt as much as I can I improved as much as I can every day and I hope, one day I can get a chance to play in the first team”
The defender said United academy gives everything to young players and on Solskjaer added: “He is a lovely person he knows the club inside out. He has given young lads a chance and it is a lovely boost for us.”
“I feel fine I feel 100 per cent so I just keep work every day and hopefully one day I can get a chance to play in the first team,” concluded the youngster.
The final game of EURO U19 will take place on Saturday, July 27 at the Republican stadium. Portugal U19 side will play against Spain U19 in order to win the trophy for the second time in a row.