Wednesday 18 October 2017

Spirited Irish set up Euro showdown with Germany

U-17 Euro Championship Finals: Ireland 2 Bosnia-Herzegovina 1

Republic of Ireland U-17 manager Colin O'Brien. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland U-17 manager Colin O'Brien. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Colin O'Brien hailed the spirit of his Under-17 side as they bounced back from an opening defeat to reignite their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

The Boys in Green suffered a setback with Thursday's defeat to Serbia but victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Croatia sets up a decider against Germany on Wednesday.

Clinching the top-two finish in Group C may hinge on Ireland having to scalp the superpower.

While the Germans beat Serbia 3-1 yesterday to remain top of the pool, they are not guaranteed progression and could require a draw.

A plethora of permutations exist to decide Ireland's fate and their destiny may be influenced too by the outcome of the Balkan derby being played simultaneously.

After just seven minutes yesterday, Kameron Ledwidge and Adam Idah combined to free Rowan Roache on the edge of the box and the Blackpool player drove a crisp, right-footed shot beyond Jasmin Krsic.

Ireland - for whom Richie O'Farrell was outstanding - switched off six minutes later to allow Nemanja Vjestica equalise with a free header but regained the lead on the half-hour through Idah's penalty which was awarded for a foul on Aaron Connolly.

"The boys responded well to the Serbia defeat and deserved to win this one," said O'Brien.

"Adam showed the ice in his veins to put away the penalty and the boys will be ready for the challenge of Germany. All we wanted was to keep our chance alive going into the final game."

IRELAND - B Maher (St Pat's Ath); L O'Connor (Man Utd), J Doherty (Sheffield Utd), N Collins (Stoke ), K Ledwidge (St Kevin's); L Nolan (St Pat's Ath), A Bolger (Shamrock Rvs), R O'Farrell (St Pat's Ath), A Connolly (Brighton); R Roache (Blackpool); A Idah (Corinthian Boys). Subs: C Thompson (Wolves) for O'Connor (65 mins), B Kavanagh (Bohs) for Roache (71 mins).

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