Monday 27 March 2017

Patient Morling braced for Latvia test

John Fallon

IRELAND U-17 manager John Morling will instruct his team to be patient this morning (10.0 Irish time) when they face Latvia in Greece hoping to secure qualification for the European Championship finals.

Two draws from their opening pair of matches mean Ireland must collect three points and hope that joint-leaders Greece and Denmark draw their game, which will be played simultaneously.

"We must concentrate on beating a well-organised Latvia team instead of concerning ourselves with the other game," said Morling.

"Although Latvia have lost their two matches so far against Denmark and Greece, both were narrow defeats, and we'll need to get the ball wide to try break down their defence."

Morling, who has no injury worries, is likely to recall midfield powerhouse Darragh Lenihan, who was suspended for last Friday's 1-1 draw with Greece.

Celtic winger Paul George has scored in both of Ireland's games and should retain his place in the starting line-up ahead of Tottenham's Ken McEvoy.

Meanwhile, the Ireland U-19 team were held scoreless by Cyprus in Saturday's friendly played in Larnaca.

Anthony O'Connor and Derrick Williams went close in the first half, but Paul Doolin's side were lucky to escape with a draw in the end as the hosts fired a last-minute penalty wide.

Doolin is using the week-long stay in Cyprus as preparation for the U-19 European Championship elite stage qualifiers, which take place in Poland from May 24-29. Ireland take on Italy, Ukraine and the mini-group hosts chasing the one spot on offer to make the finals.

Another friendly game, against local Cypriot league side Paralimni FC, has been arranged for tomorrow evening.

IRELAND U-19 -- McCarey (Wolves); Doherty (Wolves), Egan (Sunderland), O'Connor (Blackburn Rovers), Williams (Aston Villa); Hendrick (Derby County), Byrne (Leicester City), Wearen (West Ham), Forde (Wolves); Murphy (Bray Wanderers), Brady (Manchester United). Subs: McGinty (Manchester United) for O'Connor (60), Ferdinand (Southend) for Byrne (60), O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers) for Wearen (60), McDermott (Arsenal) for McCarey (65), Tidim (FC St Pauli) for Murphy (70), Murray (Watford) for Forde (75), Knight (Leicester City) for Brady (77).

Irish Independent

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