After a disappointing few weeks on the qualifying front for the Republic of Ireland, some encouragement has arrived in the shape Ireland U-21 goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara being added to Manchester United’s Champions League squad.
The Manchester-born shot-stopper, who qualifies for the Boys in Green through his grandparents on his father’s side, will come in as fourth-choice keeper in the squad and will provide cover for David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Joel Castro Peirea.
He is one of two additions with left-back Demetri Mitchell also being added to the panel. They are among six players on the Red Devils’ B list along with Joel Pereira, Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The A list can feature a maximum of 25 players, but there is no limit to the amount that can be included on the B list.
According to UEFA: “A player may be registered on List B if he is born on, or after, 1 January 1996 and has been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday (players aged 16 may be registered if they have been registered with the club for the previous two years).”
This is another positive step in O’Hara’s fledgling career. While seeing game time in the Champions League may be wishful thinking given where he is in the pecking order at present, this will do harm to his development.
With all of Ireland’s first choice goalkeepers now over the age of 30 having a player like O’Hara coming through will be a relief to the FAI. How his career pans out in the next two or three seasons, however, will determine if he picks up a senior cap to add to his sole under-21 appearance thus far.
Michael Keaveny, Pundit Arena