Ireland put Italy to sword in U-19 opener
Ireland 2 Italy 0
Ireland have a great chance to reach their first U-19 Euros since 2011 after a goal in each half earned them victory over Italy in Belgium yesterday.
After a bright start against an Italian side glistened by Serie A players, Wolves midfielder Conor Levingston made the supremacy count by smashing home the opener on 34 minutes.
When Shamrock Rovers wideman Trevor Clarke was fouled inside the box 17 minutes from the end by Marco Varnier, up stepped Birmingham City's prolific striker Ronan Hale to convert the spot-kick.
The Italians turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes with efforts from Varnier and Patrick Cutrone but couldn't get past a resilient Irish defence.
Tom Mohan's side face Sweden, beaten 2-1 yesterday by Belgium, tomorrow aiming to continue their surge towards securing the one berth on offer from the four-nation group into the finals in July.
IRELAND - Kelleher (Liverpool); O'Keefe (Birmingham), Masterson (Liverpool), Rice (West Ham Utd), Wilson (Manchester City); Levingston (Wolves), Molumby (Brighton); Elbouzedi (West Brom), Mandroiu (Brighton), Clarke (Shamrock Rovers); Hale (Birmingham City). Sub: McKenna (Wolves) for Mandroiu (86 mins).