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green battle Republic of Ireland faces battle for services of promising teen striker Rio McEvoy


Republic of Ireland under-19 manager Tom Mohan. (Image: Sportsfile)

Republic of Ireland under-19 manager Tom Mohan. (Image: Sportsfile)

Republic of Ireland under-19 manager Tom Mohan. (Image: Sportsfile)

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are engaged in a tug of war to try and secure the services of Rio McEvoy, a promising striker on the books of Bolton Wanderers.

McEvoy (16) lived in Dublin until the age of 9, playing his football at Cherry Orchard, before a family move to England where he spent time with Blackburn and Manchester United prior to signing for Bolton where he has starred at U17 and U18 level. A recent hat-trick against his former club United was the highlight of the season.

The teenager's father is from Dundalk but his mother hails from Newry, so he is open to considering his options in terms of international football.

Last week, McEvoy linked up with Tom Mohan's U-19 squad for a training camp at Loughborough University where a group of 35 included Joshua Ireland, the son of Stephen Ireland.

McEvoy impressed camp members with his movement around the box and clever touches and he showcased his goal-scoring prowess in an in-house game.

But next month, the starlet will be with the Northern Ireland U-19 squad at a training camp in Belfast. They are managed by former Sligo Rovers boss Gerard Lyttle.

FIFA have further relaxed their rules on eligibility for players aged 21 and under so there is more freedom for individuals with a range of options to deliberate and try out the various environments without making a definitive decision.

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