This isn't our first rodeo.
As the Ireland under 19s take to the field in a must-win match against the Czech Republic in Armenia, you can be forgiven if you cast your mind back to the last time we took a team to the Under 19 European Championships.
Back in 2011, the Czech Republic again stood in our way, in a group also containing Greece and hosts Romania. The Irish team of 2011 did lose 2-1 to the Czechs in the group stages. Thankfully, a victory against Greece and a draw against Romania was enough to see us progress to the semi-final. Unfortunately, we ran into a juggernaut Spain side and we were subsequently walloped 5-0.
We decided to take a look back at the men that last braved this frontier, all the way back in 2011:
The manager of the 2011 U19s side, Doolin already had a pedigree in the League of Ireland beforehand, where he won a league and FAI Cup as manager of Drogheda United. He followed that up with a brief spell in charge of Cork City, before taking over as Ireland U23s boss. In 2010, he assumed the role of Ireland U19s manager. He held the post until 2016, before being replaced by current manager Tom Mohan. Since then, Doolin has joined the list of voices critical of the FAI's 'horrendous politics'.
1 - Aaron McCarey
At that stage of his career, McCarey had already played regular first-team football for Monaghan United. His performances then led him to Wolves, where he was teammates with fellow squad members Matt Doherty and Anthony Forde. He never became a first-team regular at Molineux, instead going out on a rake of loans to the likes of Telford, Walsall, York City and Portsmouth.
The goalkeeper eventually left Wolves permanently in 2016, signing for Ross County. He subsequently signed for Warrenpoint Town in 2018 on a short-term deal, before winding up as Gary Rogers understudy at Dundalk this season. McCarey has been called up to the Ireland senior squad twice as an injury replacement for Kieren Westwood, once in 2013 and again in 2018.
2- Matt Doherty
Having started his career at Bohemians, Doherty moved to Wolves at the age of 18 in 2010. Bar two loan spells at Hibernian and Bury, Doherty has been an ever-present in Wolves squads ever since. The wing-back has notched over 250 appearances for the Black Country outfit, as well as making 7 appearances for Irish senior side, with his first call-up coming in 2016.
Last season, Doherty broke out to become one of the Premier League's best defenders, scoring four and assisting five as Wolves qualified for the Europa League.
3- Derrick Williams
Born in Germany to an Irish mother and an American father, Williams moved to Waterford in 2000. He signed for Aston Villa as a 15 year-old in 2009, however he only made one senior appearance for Villa. He moved to Bristol City in 2013 and was immediately thrust into the first-team.
The centre-back joined Blackburn Rovers for roughly £300,000 in 2016, where he has remained ever since. In 2018, he got his first, and so far only, cap for the Irish senior side, playing 82 minutes against France at the Stade de France.
4- John Egan
The son and namesake of Kerry GAA royalty, Egan was the captain of this U19s side, as well as being Irish U19 Footballer of the Year in 2011. The central-defender moved to Sunderland 2009, going on loan to the likes of Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Bradford City and Southend United.
In 2014, Egan moved permanently to Gillingham, spending two seasons at the Gills before moving to Brentford. Egan impressed at Griffin Park, receiving his first Ireland cap whilst at the Bees. He returned to Sheffield United in 2018, moving for a fee of around £1.35m. So far, he has four Ireland caps to his name.
5- Anthony O'Connor
The goalscoring defender that notched twice to give Ireland their only victory of the tournament over Greece, O'Connor was plying his trade for Blackburn Rovers at the time, alongside fellow squad member John O'Sullivan.
O'Connor never played a first-team game for Blackburn, going out on loan to the likes of Torquay United, Burton Albion and Plymouth Argyle. He moved to Plymouth permanently in 2015, and subsequently signing for Burton Albion and Aberdeen. He arrived at his current club, Bradford City, in 2018.
6- Jeff Hendrick
Hendrick had already made his first-team debut for Derby County by the time of the tournament, making four appearances for the Rams at the tail end of the 2010/11 season. Hendrick went on to play over 200 games for Derby in the intervening years, moving to Burnley in a club record £10.5m deal.
The central-midfielder has made over 100 appearances for Burnley since 2016, joining the club following a stellar Euro 2016 for Ireland. Hendrick has 49 caps for the Irish senior team, making his debut against Poland.
7- Samir Carruthers
Carruthers was one of the more well-known members of this U19s squad, having already been at Arsenal and Aston Villa at that stage of his career. The midfielder eventually made his Aston Villa debut in 2012, but only made 3 first-team appearances before leaving the club permanently for MK Dons.
Carruthers' performances for MK Dons put him on the radar of Sheffield United, signing for the Blades for £250,000 in 2017. Having helped United's promotion push to the Championship, Carruthers' was placed on the transfer list at the end of the 2017/18 season. He spent last season on loan at Oxford United, but is still in the Blades technically in the Blades squad as they prepare for their first Premier League season in 12 years.
8- John O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan was the youngest member of the squad, opening the scoring for Ireland in their 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic, as well as featuring in every game of the campaign. Playing for Blackburn at the time, O'Sullivan has played for 10 different clubs since making his first-team bow for Rovers in 2013.
He only left Blackburn permanently in 2017, signing for Carlisle United. He spent one season at Brunton Park before moving to Blackpool for a half season, spending the other half at Dundee on loan. O'Sullivan moved to Morecambe on a free transfer this summer.
9- Kevin Knight
Knight had been released by Leicester City by the time the tournament came around, playing in three of the four matches in Romania. Knight linked up with fellow squad member Conor Murphy at Bray following the tournament, staying at the seaside outfit until 2013. He then joined Shamrock Rovers' short-lived 'B' team in the First Division in 2014, joining Premier Division side Athlone Town halfway through the season.
Knight then moved to new League of Ireland side Cabinteely in 2015, staying with the Stradbrook side until 2018, when he moved to Longford. However, halfway through the 2019 season, Knight returned to Stradbrook. Kevin's brother, Jason, is part of Tom Mohan's side in Armenia.
10- Conor Murphy
The only home-based player in the squad, Murphy was playing for Bray Wanderers at the time of the tournament. He subsequently went on a tour of the League of Ireland, playing for the likes of Monaghan United, Bohemians and Shelbourne.
Murphy was also part of the Derry City squad that won the FAI Cup in 2012 and the St Patrick's Athletic side that won the League of Ireland Premier Division in 2013. Murphy now currently plies his trade for Crumlin United in the Leinster Senior League.
11- Anthony Forde
Forde was a long-time teammate of Matt Doherty and Aaron McCarey at Wolves, making 28 first-team appearances. Forde also won the 2012 Irish U19 Footballer of the Year award. In 2014, the winger moved to Walsall, where his performances led him to sign with Championship outfit Rotherham United in 2016.
The Limerick man has been a mainstay in the Rotherham side that has yoyo-ed between the Championship and League One over the past number of seasons.
12- Kane Ferdinand
Part of the footballing family that gave the world Rio, Les and Anton Ferdinand, Kane qualified to play for Ireland through his Irish mother. Ferdinand came through the youth ranks at Southend United, and was already a first-team regular for the Essex side by the time of the tournament.
Ferdinand then moved to Peterborough at the age of 19, for a transfer fee that could have potentially risen to £500,000. After starting like a house on fire, injuries derailed Ferdinand's progress at London Road, going on several loan moves before leaving the Posh to join Dagenham and Redbridge in 2015.
After a brief spell there and another short spell at East Thurrock United, Ferdinand joined Woking in 2016. Ferdinand remains at the National League side, making over 80 appearances.
14- Eoin Wearen
Wearen, a talented Gaelic footballer, opted to move to West Ham's youth team in 2008. He didn't make an appearance for West Ham in his six years there, only playing twice whilst on loan at Dagenham and Redbridge in 2012. Wearen returned to Ireland, signing for Bohemians in 2014.
His impressive performances led him to follow manager Owen Heary to Sligo Rovers in 2015, however, following Heary's dismissal, Wearen returned to Dalymount Park. Injury has plagued Wearen's career in the years following his return to Bohemians, which included missing all of the 2017 season with an ACL injury. Wearen is currently plying his trade for Glenavon in the Northern Irish Premiership.
15- Sean Murray
Another player who had made his first-team debut before the tournament began, Murray ended up making 85 appearances for Watford over the course of five years, winning the club's Young Player of the Year Award in 2012. However, with Watford's promotion to the Premier League and influx of foreign players, Murray found first-team opportunities hard to come by.
He eventually left Vicarage Road, moving to Swindon Town in 2016. He then moved to Colchester United, making 56 appearances before moving to Danish club Velje. Murray only lasted seven months in Denmark, moving to League of Ireland champions Dundalk in 2019, linking up with fellow 2011 squad member Aaron McCarey.
16- Sean McDermott
The Norwegian-born son of a Norwegian mother and a father from Donegal, McDermott joined Arsenal's youth academy in 2008. He left the Emirates without getting close to a first-team appearance, playing for a multitude of Norwegian clubs including Sandnes Ulf, Start and Ullensaker/Kisa IL.
However, it was his form at Tippeligaen side Kristiansund which put him on the radar of Martin O'Neill, with the goalkeeper being called-up to the Irish senior squad in 2018. Following a horrific spell at Dinamo Bucharest, McDermott has returned to Kristiansund, also being called-up for Mick McCarthy's most recent squads for Euro Qualifiers against Denamark and Gibraltar.
17- Declan Walker
One of the few that didn't make an appearance in the 2011 Championships, Walker has spent the majority of his career playing in Wales. The defender started his career at Wrexham in the Conference, making 21 appearances in the 2012/13 season before moving to Welsh Premier League side Bangor City.
Walker became a bit part player at the end of his Bangor career, eventually signing for Aberystwyth Town. Now, Walker plies his trade for Northern Premier League side Stalybridge Celtic, a team based in Greater Manchester. He's capable of striking a ball all the same:
DECLAN WALKER! 🙌💚@decwalker22 @AberystwythTown pic.twitter.com/uiqqvcQ3Xa
— Sgorio ⚽️ (@sgorio) August 13, 2018
18- Joe Shaughnessy
Signed from Salthill Devon in 2009, Shaughnessy made his first-team bow for Aberdeen at the very end of the 2010/11 season against Hibernian. The defender was an intermittent starter for the Dons over the next number of years, going on loan to the likes of Forfar Athletic and Falkirk. In 2015, he was released by Aberdeen and signed for fellow Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone.
Shaughnessy eventually became club captain at the Saints, however, he is currently out-of-contract. He was supposed to return to Aberdeen until manager Derek McInnes backed out of the deal. He is currently studying for a Maths degree with his football career seemingly on hold.
19- Connor Smith
Smith rose to fame on the Sky One show 'Football's Next Star', where he finished runner-up to Ben Greenhalgh for the chance to sign for Inter Milan's youth team. Smith ended up joining Watford's youth side, making 13 first-team appearances for the Hornets.
However since leaving Vicarage Road permanently in 2016, Smith's career has been on a gradual decline. The attacker has been sliding down the English football pyramid, with Smith joining National League South side Wealdstone this summer. Catch him in 'Football's Next Star' below: