European Championship Finals dream over for U21s…15/11/2020

The dream of contesting a first European Championship Finals at U21 level is over for this qualifying campaign. Our U21 side went down to a two one defeat by Iceland in a crucial qualifier played in Tallaght Stadium early on Sunday afternoon. Ireland were seeking to consolidate dreams of qualifying for a first Championship Finals and also revenge for a disappointing one nil defeat by our visitors on a plastic surface in Reykjavik during October last year. However It was not to be as Iceland completed the double over us with an added time winner. The visitors took a 25th minute lead somewhat against the run of play but thereafter Ireland were not quite able to find the form visible in the early stages of this qualifying campaign. A fortunate own goal equaliser in the 75th minute brought renewed hope but it was not to be with the visitors securing the points with the winning goal in added time.

One wonders if the opportunity to reach a first Championship Finals at this level might not have served greater purpose than the early elevation of six eligible players to the senior squad (Caoimin Kelleher, Dara O’Shea, Jayson Molumby, Jason Knight, Adam Idah, Aaron Connolly). Todays task was made further difficult by the injury absence of Jonathan Afolabi, Luca Connell and goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.   

Ed McGinty
(Sligo Rovers); Lee O’Connor(Tranmere Rovers-Loan), Conor Masterson(QPR)(C), Nathan Collins(Stoke City), Liam Scales(Shamrock Rovers); Conor Coventry(West Ham United), Jack Taylor(Peterborough United); Anthony Scully(Lincoln City), Connor Ronan(Grasshopper Zurich), Zach Elbouzedi(Lincoln City); Michael Obafemi(Southampton)

Troy Parrott(Millwall-Loan) for Scully 46′
Joshua Kayode(Dundee-Loan) for Obafemi 74′
Daniel Mandroiu(Bohemian) for Ronan 74′
Thomas O’Connor(Gillingham-Loan) for Coventry 83′

Unused Substitutes:
Brian Maher(Bray Wanderers)
Mark McGuinness(Ipswich Town-Loan)
Danny McNamara(St Johnstone-Loan)
Darragh Leahy(Dundalk)
Jamie Lennon(St Patrick’s Athletic)
Will Ferry(Southampton)
Danny Grant(Bohemian)
Ryan Cassidy(Accrington Stanley-Loan)

Sunday 15 November     RoI 1-2 Iceland     Tallaght Stadium  12.30pm
Wednesday 18 November   Luxembourg v RoI   Beggen  4.30pm

             P  W  D  L   F  A   G/D   Pts
Italy(Q)     9  7  1  1  23  4   19    22
Iceland      9  6  0  3  16 12    4    18 
Ireland      9  5  1  3  13  7    6    16
Sweden       8  5  0  3  26  8   18    15
Armenia      8  1  0  7   4 26  -22     3
Luxembourg   8  1  0  7   2 23  -21     3