McCarthy glad ‘ridiculous’ FIFA red-tape preventing Adam McDonnell from playing has finally been lifted

Adam McDonnell, in pre-season acation against Shelbourne last weekend. Photo: Gregg Brown

Adam McDonnell, in pre-season acation against Shelbourne last weekend. Photo: Gregg Brown - Credit: Gregg Brown

Ipswich Town manager Mick Mccarthy is glad that teenage Irish midfielder Adam McDonnell can finally be a part of his first-team squad after a ‘ridiculous’ FIFA ruling sidelined him for the first season of his Blues career.

Signed as a 17-year-old from Irish second tier side Shelbourne in August 2014, Town were then told by the international governing body that he would not be able to play competitive football until he reached his 18th birthday on May 14.

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

McCarthy says that McDonnell would have been on his first-team bench at some stage last season had it not been for the red-tape, the teenager impressing against his former club during Town’s 6-0 pre-season victory at Tolka Park last Saturday.

Asked if the technically-gifted player was in his first-team plans for the up-and-coming campaign, the former Republic of Ireland boss sarcastically replied: “Unless Sepp Blatter or somebody at FIFA steps in and stops him playing again.


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“I said a long time ago that FIFA stands for ‘Forget Irish Football Altogether’. That was after they wanted us to fly to Macedonia when they were bombing Belgrade. Maybe that’s come back to haunt me with Adam!

“The ridiculous nature of the situation was that they stopped him playing football, which is the one thing that he’s very, very good at. And that was apparently because we hadn’t given him a suitable education, which was nonsense – because we had.

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“So FIFA say that we can’t play him until he is 18, yet he could go and work in Tesco – other supermarkets are available by the way, Asda, Liddl and the rest – but the point I’m making is that he could go and work for minimum wage, but FIFA stop him playing football.

“It’s a shame because that’s six months of his career when he could have been playing.

“You can imagine how p****d off I was that I wasn’t allowed to play him. It was the biggest piece of nonsense since they asked me to fly to Macedonia.”

Cole Skuse operated alongside McDonnell in the centre of midfield during the first half against Shelbourne and was impressed by the youngster’s contribution.

He said: “He’s a very, very technically gifted player, a very assured player, very composed. He’s got a lot of good attributes and you can see why the club brought him over from Shelbourne.

“Last year, I know he had a bit of trouble with his clearance, but he trained with us all season and he’s a very good player. He didn’t look out of his depth at all.”

Speedy right-winger Dylan Connolly, 19, was also recruited from Shelbourne last season and also appears to be in McCarthy’s plans.

“He got injured at the back end of last season, he had ankle ligament damage, but he’s back playing now and I’m looking to seeing what he can do this season,” said the Blues boss.

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