Adam McDonnell ready to kick on for Ipswich Town

Adam McDonnell takes a tumble against Shelbourne

Adam McDonnell takes a tumble against Shelbourne - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town midfielder Adam McDonnell says he is ready to really kick-on this season.

The 19-year-old was back in his hometown of Dublin on Saturday to play against his former club as the Blues started their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 win over Irish second-tier side Shelbourne.

Mick McCarthy has taken his squad to the impressive facilities of Carton House for four years in a row now, the week-long training camp always ending with a game at Tolka Park.

That association led to Town signing Shelbourne youngsters McDonnell and Dylan Connolly back in the summer of 2014, but winger Connolly has since moved on and McDonnell endured a frustrating first year at Portman Road due to the fact FIFA said he could not play competitive football until he turned 18.

That’s because there is a complicated ruling which surrounds the recruitment of ‘foreign’ players and the standard of academic education that clubs have to provide them.

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McDonnell made his long-awaited full Championship debut in the season-finale at Derby back in May though and his sights set on more first-team action in 2016/17.

“I still don’t really know what that rule was all about,” said McDonnell, who also started in the League Cup win at Doncaster last August.

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“It was a long wait, a slow start, but it was worth it – 100%. Playing at Derby was one of the best days of my life.

“The first 25 minutes I definitely noticed a quicker tempo, but I didn’t really feel out of place.

“I thought I did well, then I got a bit of cramp and had to come off, but I absolutely loved it.

“I just definitely want to kick on now. Last year I was just happy to make the bench, but this year I want to play.”

Calm and collected on the ball, McDonnell is now too old for the Republic of Ireland Under-19 set-up and will be hoping for an Under-21 call-up.

On facing his former club at the weekend, he said: “It’s been good seeing everyone again – all the fans and the staff who helped me.

“My little cousin (Dylan Grimes, who scored from the penalty spot) actually plays in central midfield for them, so that was a bit different today! I got clamped once, but it has to be done doesn’t it? It was good.”

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