Our U21 side scored the only goal in the third minute of added time to defeat second seeds Sweden in a crucial European U21 Championship qualifier at Tallaght Stadium this Tuesday evening. Ireland had the majority of the scoring opportunities but were unable to find the net until those final seconds when substitute Oliver O’Neill, who was introduced just nine minutes earlier, scored the all important winner.
While top seeds Italy will be expected to win the Group, the battle for second place and a place in the play-offs remains a possibility for Ireland. We currently trail Sweden by four points but do have a match in hand. Our next outing in March next year, the away fixture in Sweden, will present a huge challenge and is likely to be definitive to the outcome of the Group.
Team: Brian Maher; Lee O’Connor, Jake O’Brien, Mark McGuinness, Joel Bagan; Lee O’Connor, Will Smallbone, Conor Coventry, Gavin Kilkenny, Tyreik Wright; Will Smallbone, Joshua Kayode, Ross Tierney
Will Ferry for Tierney 68′
Evan Ferguson for Kayode 76′
Conor Noss for Smallbone 84′
Oliver O’Neill for Wright 84′
P W D L F A G/D Pts
Sweden 7 4 2 1 18 5 13 14
Italy 5 4 1 0 9 2 7 13
Republic of Ireland 6 3 1 2 7 5 2 10
Bosnia & Herzegovina 7 2 2 3 8 12 -4 8
Montenegro 7 2 1 4 9 13 -4 7
Luxembourg 6 0 1 5 2 16 -14 1
Our U21 side went down to a two nil defeat by top seeds Italy in this evening’s European Championship qualifier played in Tallaght Stadium. Ireland started the match quite brightly with Tyreik Wright on the left flank causing problems for the Italian defence but were unable to capitalise on some excellent deliveries from the Aston Villa man who is currently on loan at Salford City. As the half progressed Italy began to take control and took the lead approaching the half hour mark when Jake O’Brien stumbled making an absolute hash of a clearance which was seized upon and converted by Italy. Thereafter Italy took command with their greater quality and technique evident. Ireland did up their tempo following the introduction of substitutes Festy Ebosele and Joshua Kayode and later substitute Ross Tierney looked set to equalise but was thwarted by an excellent save by the Italian goalkeeper. The match was secured by Italy with their second goal in the final minute of normal time. Captain Conor Coventry was Ireland’s standout player while fellow midfielder Gavin Kilkenny also provided some moments of quality.
Team: Brian Maher; Lee O’Connor, Jake O’Brien, Mark McGuinness, Joel Bagan; Will Smallbone, Conor Noss, Conor Coventry, Gavin Kilkenny, Tyreik Wright; Colm Whelan
Festy Ebosele for Noss 56′
Joshua Kayode for Whelan 56′
Dawson Devoy for Smallbone 76′
Ross Tierney for Kilkenny 76′
Republic of Ireland U21 Head Coach Jim Crawford has announced his 25 man squad for the upcoming European U21 Championship qualifying contests against Italy and Sweden.
Friday 12 November RoI v Italy 17.30 Tallaght Stadium [Live RTE 2]
Tuesday 16 November RoI v Sweden 17.30 Tallaght Stadium [Live RTE 2]
Goalkeepers: Brian Maher (Bray Wanderers), Luke McNicholas (Sligo Rovers on loan at Cliftonville), David Odumosu (Drogheda United)
Defenders: Joel Bagan (Cardiff City), Festy Ebosele (Derby County), Andy Lyons (Bohemian), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United-on loan at Greenock Morton), Mark McGuinness (Cardiff City), Jake O’Brien (Crystal Palace), Lee O’Connor (Glasgow Celtic-on loan at Tranmere Rovers)
Midfielders: Conor Coventry (West Ham United-on loan at Peterborough United), Dawson Devoy (Bohemian), Ryan Johansson (Seville-on loan at Fortuna Sittard), Gavin Kilkenny (AFC Bournemouth), Conor Noss (Borussia Monchengladbach), Oliver O’Neill (Fulham), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Ross Tierney (Bohemian), William Hondermarck (Barnsley)
Forwards: Evan Ferguson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Will Ferry (Southampton-on loan at Crawley Town), Joshua Kayode (Rotherham United), Liam Kerrigan (UCD), Armstrong Oko-Flex (West Ham United), Colm Whelan (UCD), Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa-on loan at Salford City)