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U-19s miss Euro finals but Doolin sees future stars

EVEN though they missed out on reaching the European Championship finals, Paul Doolin thinks there are future stars in his Republic of Ireland U-19 squad.

Needing to beat Serbia last night and hope that Switzerland slipped up against Slovakia, the Irish team could only hold on for a draw at FK Srem Stadium, which wasn't enough.

Hosts Serbia now go through to the finals in Lithuania, while Doolin's players are left to wonder what might have been after three draws.

But the Ireland manager believes that some of his players will put this set-back behind them and go on to forge successful careers for club and country.

"When you're playing international football, it's different to what the players are used to at club football. You are not together for as long, sometimes players can't always come in, and you need to get results," said Doolin.

"But it's a great experience for the lads and we have some very good players. I think Pierce Sweeney, Ian Lawlor, Steven Smith, Shane Griffin and Seán Long have all been excellent.

"In fairness, all of the players who featured in the three games played well. But I do think that some players from this group will go on and do well. It's just a shame that they won't be going to a finals."



Ireland never really threatened against Serbia with Kieran Sadlier shooting tamely at goal and Sam Byrne getting in behind the opposition's defence but failing to pick out a team-mate.

In contrast, the hosts had plenty of efforts with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Uros Djurdjevic registering their intent to get an early goal, while Andrija Lukovic, substitute Milan Vojvodic and then Marko Pavlovski all went close.

But a point proved to be enough for Serbia as Slovakia beat the Swiss in the other game.

For Ireland, it was disappointing not to clinch that one qualifying spot, but they can be proud of their performances in Belgrade and some of them are bound to go on to better things.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Lawlor; Long, Sweeney, Smith, Griffin; Miele, Kavanagh (Gallagher 58); Hayhurst (McEvoy 69), Sadlier (Maguire 76), Garmston; Byrne. Booked: Sadlier 29, Sweeney 81, Long 90+4.