Republic of Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny saw his young charges fall to their first 2021 European Championship Group One qualifying defeat when they went down to a one nil defeat by hosts Iceland in Reykjavik on Tuesday afternoon.
Iceland commenced their campaign with two resounding victories over Armenia and Luxembourg but suffered a crushing five nil defeat by Sweden in Helsingborg on Saturday last and were likely to be hurting and dangerous back on home territory. This was very much the case as the hosts were lively from the outset and over the course of the match had many more attacking efforts.
The only goal came on 29 minutes from the penalty spot following a foul by Lee O’Connor which earned him a yellow card. There was to be further disappointment for the Glasgow Celtic player when he received a second yellow card in the closing minutes of the contest and was dismissed.
The result is a severe setback to hopes of first time qualification for the Championship finals and Ireland must now regroup for their next contest against Armenia in Yerevan on the 14th November 2019 following by the visit of Sweden to Tallaght Stadium five days later on Tuesday the 19th November 2019.
Ireland were of course without Aaron Connolly, promoted to the senior squad, the injured Jonathan Afolabi and the suspended Troy Parrott, while one or two seemed to be feeling the effects of last Thursday night’s bruising encounter with top seeds Italy, which ended scoreless in Tallaght Stadium.
Later this afternoon, Sweden travelled to Luxembourg and secured victory by three goals to nil.
Team; Caoimhin Kelleher; Lee O’Connor, Conor Masterson, Dara O’Shea, Kameron Ledwidge; Daniel Mandroiu, Conor Coventry, Jayson Molumby(C), Zachery Elbouzedi; Michael Obafemi, Adam Idah
Gavin Kelleher for Obafemi 75′
Aaron Drinan for Mandroiu 86’e
P W D L F A Pts
Ireland 5 3 1 1 7 2 10
Iceland 4 3 0 1 10 6 9
Italy 3 2 1 0 6 0 7
Sweden 3 2 0 1 9 3 6
Armenia 4 1 0 3 3 8 3
Luxembourg 5 0 0 5 0 16 0
Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu(Manchester City), Caoimhin Kelleher(Liverpool)
Defenders: Nathan Collins(Stoke City), Kameron Ledwidge(Southampton), Conor Masterson(QPR), Danny McNamara(Newport County on loan from Millwall), Lee O’Connor(Glasgow Celtic), Dara O’Shea(West Bromwich Albion), Liam Scales(UCD),
Midfielders: Conor Coventry(West Ham United), Zachary Elbouzedi(Waterford), Danny Grant(Bohemian), Gavin Kilkenny(AFC Bournemouth), Jason Knight(Derby County), Daniel Mandroiu(Bohemian), Jayson Molumby(Millwall on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion), Conor Ronan(Dunajska Streda on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers), Jack Taylor(Barnet)
Forwards: Aaron Drinan(GAIS-Sweden on loan from Ipswich Town), Adam Idah(Norwich City), Michael Obafemi(Southampton), Simon Power(Ross County on loan from Norwich City)