FOOTBALL: McDermott relishing chance to test himself against star-studded French

2 October 2016; Ronan Curtis, left, of Derry City celebrates with team-mate Conor McDermott after scoring his side's second goal during the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Semi-Final match between Dundalk and Derry City at Oriel Park in Dundalk Co. Louth. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
2 October 2016; Ronan Curtis, left, of Derry City celebrates with team-mate Conor McDermott after scoring his side's second goal during the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup Semi-Final match between Dundalk and Derry City at Oriel Park in Dundalk Co. Louth. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

CONOR McDermott is relishing the chance to test himself against a star-studded French side at Windsor Park on Tuesday after finally joining up with the rest of the N. Ireland U21 squad today.

The versatile Derry City teenager, who has been a revelation in his breakthrough season at Brandywell, is part of Jim Magilton’s U21 squad which includes FOUR players from the city.

It’s McDermott’s first call-up to the U21s and he joins former City winger, Michael Duffy (Celtic), Mikhail Kennedy (Charlton) and Conor Quigley (Dundee).

McDermott was initially named in the team which drew 1-1 in Ukraine last night, however, the 19 year-old Culmore man had bravely contacted Magilton for a pardon on Sunday afternoon when it became clear Derry would be playing Dundalk in the FAI Cup semi-final replay on Tuesday night.

It was a game he didn’t want to miss and after some bargaining, with the help from Kenny Shiels, he was excused from duty and will meet up with the team today.

And on Tuesday he hopes to get some game time against the French which includes the likes of Celtic striker, Moussa Dembélé and Dortmund’s rising star, Ousmana Dembélé.

It’s good to have a few local boys there as it’s my first time being away. I’m sure that will help me.

Conor McDermott

“I’ve played U18 Schoolboys but this is a massive step up for me,” he said. “It came as a surprise to be honest. I didn’t think I’d actually get in the squad. A lot of the boys from the League of Ireland are normally overlooked from these squads. I know Mickey (Duffy) was in the squad a few years ago. It’s great to be involved. Hopefully I get a game on Tuesday night against France. It’s a massive game. There are players likes Moussa Dembele and a few players who play for PSG. They have a massive squad and it will be a tough test. But it will be good to see where I’m at in terms of that level and see where I need to improve.”