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Williams wins it for U23s in Estonia

A FIRST-HALF header from Sporting Fingal's Shaun Williams handed the Republic of Ireland U-23s a deserved 1-0 win over Estonia in Tallinn last night to boost their hopes of qualification for the semi-finals of the International Challenge Trophy.

Paul Doolin's side must now wait on results elsewhere before learning if they have earned themselves a berth in the penultimate stage of the representative competition.

Williams had almost broken the deadlock on 10 minutes, but his powerful drive from 25 yards crashed off the crossbar.

The Sporting Fingal midfielder turned provider on 29 minutes when his cross found the head of Kenny Browne, but the Irish defender saw his effort comfortably saved.

Ireland's dominance was growing as the game progressed but the boys in green almost found themselves behind on 38 minutes but Robert Duggan brilliantly saved from Henri Anier.

Three minutes later, however, Doolin's side went in front, and, almost inevitably, it was the star of the show Williams who got on the score sheet.

Billy Dennehy's corner-kick to the back post was headed across goal by Browne and Williams was given the simple task of guiding the ball home from three yards.

Estonia brought more to the second half but Ireland continued to threaten and saw out the win, despite Greg Bolger seeing red after a second yellow card in the final minute for time wasting.