Rachel Baynes and Darragh Reilly representing their country.

January Sports Stars winners represented their country

Mayo Young Sports Stars Awards winners for January 2019, Rachel Baynes and Darragh Reilly, from Newport and Castlebar respectively, were both named on Ireland international soccer squads at the start of last year.

Baynes, who played for Castlebar Celtic in her younger days before being snapped up by Galway Women's FC, was included in the Republic of Ireland Women's Under 19 squad by head coach Dave Connell for a double-header against Italy.

The matches, which both ended in defeat, marked the start of the team's preparations for the UEFA European Championships elite round phase, which took place in April. Ireland faced Spain, Serbia and Hungary as they sought qualification for the finals in July. They enjoyed great victories over Serbia and Hungary but lost out to a very strong Spanish team that went on to reach the Euro semi-finals.

Reilly, meanwhile, was part of a 20-man Republic of Ireland Under 15 squad for friendlies in late January and early February against Spain, Netherlands and Hungary in the Pinatar Arena, Murcia.

The Sligo Rovers defender, formerly of Castlebar Celtic, saw plenty of action as Ireland were beaten on penalties by Spain and Netherlands after securing draws (1-1 and 2-2 respectively) with both of those illustrious nations in 80 minutes, before rounding off their trip to Murcia with an excellent 3-0 victory over Hungary.

“The players have been well organised throughout the week and performed excellently in every match. Spain are the best Under 15 side I've ever seen and we matched them in normal time, so it shows that there is some talent in the group,” commented head coach Jason Donohue after the series of friendlies.