For all the Irish players in action in across the channel today, Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy is expected in Rotterdam this evening where he will attend the Dutch Cup final between Willem II and Ajax.
But his trip is by no means one of leisure, with 21-year-old midfielder Daniel Crowley expected to play a significant role. The former Arsenal player signed for the Dutch club in 2017 and is eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland through his grandparents from Waterford and Cork.
In an interview with BBC Sport, Crowley revealed Irish scout Mark O'Toole had already been in touch, though talks with McCarthy had yet to take place. Nevertheless, the Irish boss is expected to attend this evening's final with treble-seeking Ajax.
I told him (Mark O'Toole)I want to play for Ireland. He is trying to get the papers sorted - I have to be patient.
The way I felt two years ago is different to the person I am now. Growing up I never owned an England kit, I had all the Ireland kits.
I do love England, all my family and friends are there and I have lived there all my life, but internationally it feels more right to play for Ireland, it's the personal connection [to the country].
I remember watching in the pub with my dad and was crying when Ireland lost their World Cup game against Spain in 2002 and when Thierry Henry's handball happened [in 2009].
I even used to do the Robbie Keane celebration when I scored.
The 21-year-old promise and his father were understood to have been in talks with previous Irish manager Martin O'Neill, though a senior cap never came to fruition. His intentions to play for the Republic of Ireland, however, have been known for a while, and last November he was critical of the English national set-up telling the Daily Telegraph:
You are not allowed an opinion for England. If you do you are seen to have a bad attitude.
After securing a spot in the final of the domestic competition, Crowley famously celebrated with club fans while holding an Irish tricolour.
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▫ Daniel Crowley
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En een massage voor Alexander 🤣#WILaz #Finale pic.twitter.com/ffSOYTiKt8
— Willem II (@WillemII) March 1, 2019
The flag could make another appearance in the Netherlands today, though the European semi-finalists present quite the daunting obstacle.
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