Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ireland u19's qualify for Euro finals

Ireland have qualified for the European Championship Under-19 finals in July after recording an impressive 3-0 win over Italy on Sunday in Kolobrzeg, Poland.

Four points from their first two matches left Ireland needing to defeat mini-group leaders Italy in their final game to secure the one qualifying berth into the finals to be held on July 20-August 1.

Conor Murphy fired Ireland ahead on the half hour before substitute Sean Murray and Joe Shaughnessy added two more in the second half to clinch the victory and qualification. Italy finished with 9 players after having two sent-off in the final stages.

An Ireland side which showed two changes due to suspensions of Anthony O'Connor and Eoin Wearen were quickly into the action.

Francesco Bardi in the Italian goal had to be on his guard to foil a stinging shot by Irish midfielder Declan Walker on 16 minutes.

There was little the Livorno ‘keeper could do just past the half hour when Murphy hared onto a through ball and lifted it over the advancing custodian for the precious opener.

For the third game running, John O'Sullivan was at his brilliant best again and worked Bardi with another effort shortly after the restart when he was put clear on goal.

But Ireland wouldn't have long to wait for another opening and when Kevin Knight picked out fellow substitute Sean Murray with a cross, the Watford youngster showed tremendous composure to slot home.

Italy nearly halved the arrears ten minutes later when Aaron McCarey's crossbar was clipped with a shot that deflected off John Egan.

That proved to be the only scare though as Joe Shaughnessy made the game safe by rattling the net with a shot inside the box after Conor Murphy had set up the Aberdeen defender.

Ireland 3-0 Italy
Conor Murphy 32
Sean Murray 61
Joe Shaughnessy 81

IRELAND: McCarey (Wolves); Doherty (Wolves), Shaughnessy (Aberdeen), Egan (Sunderland), Williams (Aston Villa); Walker (Wrexham), O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers), Hendrick (Derby County), Carruthers (Aston Villa); Forde (Wolves), Murphy (Bray Wanderers).

Substitutions: Knight (Leicester City) for Forde (h/t), Murray (Watford) for Walker (48), Lopez (Bohemians) for Carruthers (90).