Young Royal Pierce Sweeney has taken home Ireland's u19 International Player of the Year Award, becoming the first Royal to do so. Fellow youth player Shane Griffin had also been nominated for the same gong. Furthermore, Sweeney has also been called up to the Irish u21 squad to face Montenegro in their UEFA Championship qualifiers next month.
It's a great achievement for the young Irishman who has also broken into the Royals' first team squad at points this season, earning places on the bench against Nottingham Forest and Brighton over the New Year period. Although neither Sweeney nor Griffin have appeared for the Royals as of yet, it's a sure sign that the highly-regarded Reading academy is continuing to bear fruit.
Although no Reading player has won the u19 award before, former Royal Kevin Doyle took home the u21 equivalent for 2005.
This follows recent similar success on the international stage for the Royals, with fellow Irishmen Alex Pearce and Stephen Kelly earning call-ups for Ireland's upcoming friendly with Serbia. Also, Reading's Welsh duo of Chris Gunter and Hal Robson-Kanu were also rewarded with a place in Wales' squad to face Iceland, also a friendly in March.