Irish young guns go down fighting
Turkey U-21 1
Ireland U-21 0
The Republic of Ireland's U-21 side finished off a disappointing campaign with an unfortunate 1-0 loss to Turkey, in Kocaeli, yesterday.
An 81st minute goal by Turkish captain Tevfik Kose decided a keenly contested tie.
Injuries and suspension meant caretaker boss Wim Koevermans fielded one of the youngest U-21 sides in Irish football history, but they did their country proud.
Five of the starting line-up had played U-19 football last season, while Manchester United winger Robert Brady is still eligible for that age group.
Brady suffered a first-half injury and Rob Kiernan was also forced to limp off in the second half as the Irish injury problems continued to mount.
This defeat left the Irish bottom of the table with just a single victory in 10 outings in their qualifying group.
The Irish had chances in the final minutes of the first half, with Adam Rooney heading a Daniel Kearns cross wide in the 43rd minute and Graham Carey failing to convert a Seamus Coleman cross two minutes later.
Conor Hourihane came closest to opening the scoring in the 61st minute with a strike from the edge of the box that rattled the upright.
Rooney was denied by keeper Ozkan Karabulut with a header from another cross by Kearns as the Irish looked set to claim their first competitive away win since August 2006.
Luck deserted the visitors, though, and Kose scored from 12 yards with a well-placed effort past Henderson after a flowing Turkish move.
Turkey -- Karabulut; Kurtulus (Boz 72), Cek, Kesimal, Basdas, Tekdemir, Uysal, Kaplan (Gurler 66), Kose, Colak (Arslan 46), Aygunes.
Rep of Ireland -- Henderson; Coleman, Moloney, Kiernan (McEleney 58), Conneely, Towell, Hourihane, Clifford (Mason 78), Rooney, Brady (Kearns 35), Carey.
Ref -- A Stavrev (Macedonia).