Brandon Kavanagh replaces Simon Power in Irish under-21 squad
Manager Stephen Kenny disappointed to lose attacker but welcomes ‘creative passer’
Called up: Brandon Kavanagh of Shamrock Rovers. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Stephen Kenny says he was aware that Power had had a problem well before he joined up with the squad at the weekend but the manager says he is disappointed to lose yet another attacking player. However, he insists he is happy to have Kavanagh to call on.
“He’s a different type of player to Simon,” says the former Dundalk boss. “Simon is a chalk-on-the-boots right winger, a pacy player. Brandon is an instinctive, creative passer, a good crosser who likes to come in on his left foot. They are different players completely but Brandon has the right mentality. He’ll be comfortable.”
Kavanagh’s call-up is another blow of sorts to Shamrock Rovers as they look to extend their lead at the top of the Premier Division table by beating Finn Harps at the weekend. With Trevor Clarke already involved with the under-21s and Jack Byrne having been drafted into the senior squad, the Dublin club have the option of having the game called off but it is understood they still prefer to press ahead and leave others to cope in a few weeks’ time with fixtures being rescheduled into what is already a busy month.
It was put to Kenny that this time last year he would have been among those complaining about the disruption, but he rejected the suggestion.
“No, I don’t think I would,” he said. “I never really minded having runs of league games. We always knew that we’d get an advantage, that we had the mentality needed to win three games in a week. If you look around leagues in Europe and three games in a week, it doesn’t happen that often.
“So I used to always say: ‘nine points, great opportunity. We’ve the mentality to do it and to absolutely get an advantage over other teams, because psychologically they are complaining.”
The people who run the league were said to be wary of the challenges Kenny’s inclination to call-up players playing here might cause for them, but the Dubliner insists it should all be seen as a plus.
“It’s a much younger league these days than 15 or 20 years ago; the age profile of the players is certainly much younger and that has to be viewed as a positive.
“People will see a negative in a lot of things, but that has to be considered a positive thing; having matches called off because of international call-ups. You’d like to be in a position in the future where it’s a consistent problem, because that would represent some progress.”
Power’s departure comes quickly on the heels of Troy Parrott’s, with the Spurs striker ruled out due to a toe injury. The 17-year-old striker recently underwent surgery on the problem.
“Our medical team spoke to Spurs and I spoke to Tottenham myself and discussed it. He’s just not fit and they don’t feel he’s ready. It’s a very usual toe injury, a bone issue, and there is no point getting the lads in and forcing him to kick a ball only to send him back.”