Thursday 21 February 2013

Jersey ready to fly English flag in UEFA Regions Cup

Jersey will become the third non-FIFA side to represent England in the UEFA Regions Cup when the crown dependency travels to San Marino in less than two weeks time. The Channel Islanders will meet the hosts amateur team as well as sides representing Northern Ireland (Eastern Region) and the Republic of Ireland (Leinster and Munster).

Champions...Jersey celebrate the win over the Isle of Man
The purely home-based squad is almost identical to a would-be Jersey Island Games squad and includes familiar names such as Craig Leitch, Joe Murphy and Craig Russell. Manager Craig Culkin recalled Stuart Andre to his squad but had to deal with the forced absence of James Queree, who did not have 2 years of continuous registration in Jersey football, and replaced him with Jack McKenna. Both Guernsey and the Isle of Man have previously represented England in the Regions Cup and Jersey had to see off the Manx side to qualify this time. The Isle of Man were narrowly knocked out in the intermediary round in 2007 and they hosted Jersey for a place in this year’s tournament last April as both non-FIFA sides found themselves in the final of the FA Inter-League Cup. A last-minute Luke Campbell equaliser followed by an extra-time penalty from Jack Cannon saw the Channel Islanders secure a dramatic win, and both players have kept their places in Culkin’s squad.

Confident...Jersey manager Craig Culkin
First up for the 2009 Island Games winners is a match with Ireland on the 6th before games against Northern Ireland (8th) and the hosts San Marino (10th). The Sammarinese are playing with an amateur squad but as most of their full national side are exactly that anyway the fixture will be an intriguing one, shades of a Jersey versus San Marino international. Manager Culkin is confident and said "team spirit is good and there is a belief among us that we have what it takes to win the group". The Islanders will have less than a week to recover upon their return home before they travel to Alderney for the Muratti semi-final on March 16th. 

The full fixture list for Jersey’s UEFA Regions Cup campaign is as follows, with all games taking place in the Stadio Olimpico -

6 March 2013
Leinster & Munster v Jersey

8 March 2013
Jersey v Eastern Region

10th March 2013
Jersey v San Marino

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