Kieran O'Hara comes on as a substitute against Bulgaria.

O'Hara delighted with international debut

Kieran O'Hara has become the latest Manchester United Academy graduate to make his international debut, after coming off the bench for Republic of Ireland in their 3-1 victory over Bulgaria.

The Reds keeper is on loan at Burton Albion, after enjoying an excellent campaign with Macclesfield Town in 2018/19, and has been recognised for his growing maturity between the posts.

Ireland coach Mick McCarthy brought him on for Bournemouth's Mark Travers, another of the five debutants in total, in the 76th minute, and he kept a clean sheet during his time on the pitch.

Republic of Ireland's five debutants in the friendly against Bulgaria.
The Republic of Ireland debutants pose for the camera after the 3-1 victory over Bulgaria.

Alan Brown, Kevin Long and James Collins scored for the home side in Dublin, with Ivelin Popov replying from the penalty spot during the friendly international.

Although born in Trafford, O'Hara has always been proud to represent Ireland and spoke to us a couple of years ago about playing for the Under-21s.

“It's always an honour to represent your country,” he said. “It's a big thing for me and I feel it's a good challenge because it helps me develop quicker. As a goalkeeper, you're learning new things in a new environment and it's a real positive for me.

“It's tough and a higher level but you get used to it. The more I play at that level, the more I am going to develop into a better goalkeeper, which is obviously what I want to become.”

 

Our Academy's player-performance manager Les Parry, who takes care of the loanees during their time away from the club, has been delighted with O'Hara's progress at Burton already this term.

“I went to watch Kieran and he did really well,” Parry told us. “He’s gone up from League Two to League One and he’s excelling. I had a phone call from [Burton manager] Nigel Clough, the other day,  to say they won the game on Saturday because of Kieran and that’s always nice to hear.

Les Parry speaks to MUTV at the Aon Training Complex.
Les Parry is the man who looks after United's loan players throughout the season.

“They love Kieran there. He is really popular at Burton. The lads love him and he’s a great lad. The manager really believes in him and, because of that, he is so confident.

“Obviously, he’s now in the full Irish squad, which is a massive feather in his cap.”

Ethan Galbraith made his senior Northern Ireland bow during this latest international break, while Dylan Levitt is close to his first Wales action after being on the bench for Ryan Giggs's side.

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