HE HAS tormented defences across Kilkenny, Leinster and beyond - now Chris Whearty could be all set to do the same at international level?
The tricky Evergreen winger has been called up for training with Gerry Smith’s Republic of Ireland amateur squad as the Boys in Green continue to prepare for the UEFA Regions Cup.
Whearty has been selected in a trial squad representing Leinster and Munster which will get together at the AUL Complex this Saturday. The Kilkennyman was picked on the back of some impressive performances for Evergreen in cup competitions. It is believed that manager Smith had Whearty watched during various Cup games this season, including the Darndale, St Kevin’s Boys and Tolka Rovers ties.
The Munster and Leinster side earned the right to represent Ireland thanks to a recent 2-0 win over a Connacht/Ulster team. They will train at the AUL Complex in Dublin on Saturday, from which a squad will be selected for a final friendly against Spain’s qualified representatives Catalonia in Dublin on February 27.
Following this match the Irish squad will head to San Marino in March for their Regions Cup qualifiers. Ireland have been drawn in against San Marino, England and Northern Ireland in the qualifiers with the winners going forward to the eight team finals in June. England will be represented by Jersey and Northern Ireland by Eastern division while San Marino will be a national selection.
The Republic will kick-off their campaign against England on March 6, followed by a clash with hosts San Marino two days later. The final group game against Northern Ireland will be played on March 10.
Should Whearty earn a call-up he will be following in the footsteps of some familiar local faces who have represented Ireland at amateur level in recent years. After a long absence Kilkenny soccer earned some overdue recognition when Mark Andrews was called up to play for Ireland. He was followed by former Freebooters netminder Graham Doyle, who was capped by Smith after winning his third Leinster Junior Cup with the Blues. Doyle played in a friendly against Northern Ireland and was poised to feature in the Regions Cup squad, but a hand injury suffered in a club game curtailed his involvement.
Another who donned the green jersey in recent seasons was current Evergreen A captain Niall Andrews. He played against Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man in a Quadrangular Tournament in 2010, netting against the Scots.
Should Whearty make it to the final squad he would also join a list of Evergreen players who have represented their country at junior/amateur level. Among the other players who have featured for Ireland over the years are brothers Mickey, Billy and Ollie Walsh, Packie Holden, Brendan Dalton and Kevin Cashin.
Training squad: Lee Murphy, Paul Murphy, Alan McCabe (Sheriff YC), David Meehan, James Lee (Crumlin United) Conor Dillon, Ross Carrig, Graham Sullivan (St Kevin’s Boys), Brendan O’Connell, Ken Hoey (Rockmount), Adrian Walsh (Carrick United), James Walsh, Paul Breen, Chris Higgins, Jimmy Carr (St Michael’s), Noel Murray, David Sommers (Tolka Rovers), Ger Bambrick, Glen Keaddy (Mount Merrion), Lar Dunne (Bangor Celtic), Adam Foley (Glebe North), Carl Dennison (Phoenix), Ray Whelehan, Darren Lacey (Wayside Celtic), Chris Barbour (Mountview United), Niall Hoban (Belgrove), Lee Murtagh (Firhouse Clover), Barry Kavanagh (Duleek), Chris Whearty (Evergreen), Shane Watters (Janesboro), Graham McCarthy, Danny Long (Avondale), James English (Ayrefield), Jon Meleady (Kilbarrack United).