Ireland drawn against England in tough group for Under-17 European Championships
Ireland's Under-17s have been drawn in an extremely difficult group for the European Championships in Bulgaria this May.
Tom Mohan's heroes qualified for the finals last week when they avoided a heavy defeat in Poland, eventually going down 1-0. Due to the expansion of the showpiece this season, Ireland squeezed into the 16-nation finals as one of the seven best runners-up across the eight elite stage groups.
And their reward is a place in Group D this May alongside holders England, Netherlands and Italy.
All Group D matches will be played on May 7, 10 and 13 with the top two qualifying for the quarter finals while the competition in Bulgaria also acts as qualifying for the World Cup which takes place later this year.
"There's no doubting that this is going to be a very tough group but we knew when we qualified that we'd be mixing with top quality teams no matter who you are in with," said Mohan.
"England beat Holland in the final last year so they are naturally going to be top class opposition. Italy always excellent at underage level so of course we expect all of our games to be tough.
"However our players have done brilliantly for us this year and I am confident that they can prove ourselves against the best teams in Europe."
UEFA U17 European Championship draw:
Group A: Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Austria
Group B: Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium, Germany
Group C: Greece, Russia, Scotland, France
Group D: Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, England