SUPERCUPNI: Derry City teenager hoping to impress against Man United
EOIN TOAL is anxiously awaiting his Derry City debut, but the talented defender will get the chance to show his worth when he lines up against Man United at the SuperCupNI on Saturday.
The Armagh teenager, who joined the ‘Candy Stripes’ on July 1st on a three-year deal, has been selected for Stephen Frail’s N. Ireland squad which entertains United in the youth tournament’s curtain-raiser in the Coleraine Showgrounds. (K.O. 5 p.m.)
As a long-time supporter of the ‘Red Devils,’ it’s a chance of a lifetime for the 18-years-old centre-half with top scouts from around the world expected to take in the game at Ballycastle Road.
However, Toal is more concerned about impressing the N. Ireland U19 boss, as he sets his sights on playing in the upcoming U19 European Championship qualifiers.
Indeed, in a triple header of qualifiers in October, N. Ireland play Poland, Germany and Belarus and Toal is desperate to be involved in the action.
“You want to test yourself against the top players,” he said. “I got a telephone call asking if I wanted to play in a SuperCup match and I jumped at the chance.
“We meet up on Saturday for the opening of the tournament but it’s more about the coaches getting a chance to look at the players ahead of the European Championship matches in October.
“We play Poland, Germany and Belarus in the European Championship qualifiers and there will be another training camp before that.
“So to qualify for that would be great. The manager is looking to see what the home-based boys are like and see if they’re capable of playing at that standard.
“Hopefully I can get into the U19 squad for the European Championships and while I’ll focus on that, my main objective is getting into the Derry City senior team and that’s going to be hard.”
United, who make a return to the SuperCupNI after a two year absence, are expected to bring a strong squad under the stewardship of Fermanagh man, Kieran McKenna.
The Old Trafford club, six times Premier Section title winners, will contest the Junior competition as one of six English clubs involved.
And while United have recently returned from a training camp in Austria, Toal has been training with Derry City in Ardmore this week. So he’s expecting a tough test against the next generation of United stars.
“It’ll be a good chance to test yourself against the likes of Manchester United,” he added. “It’s just the one match so I’ll get back to training Sunday and, hopefully, get on the bench for the Finn Harps match in Ballybofey next Monday.
“But United will likely bring their strongest side possible and I read something the other day from their manager saying they could compete with the best in the world - Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona - so it’ll definitely be a tough game.
“I actually support Man United so it will be a great day but the most important thing is to go out and enjoy ourselves and play well as a group.
“It’s the first time we’ve played together for quite some time so hopefully we find our feet as soon as possible.
Toal has settled into life on Foyleside well since making the move from Armagh City and he’s anxious to make his break into the first team before the end of the season.
“I’m enjoying living up here at the moment and all the players have been great.
“Derry are one of the best teams in Ireland and it’s definitely going to be hard t get in, but you never know I might get a chance and I’ll have to take it. I’m here for three years but I’m hopeful that I can make my debut this season,” he concluded.