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Doolin backs 'fantastic' troops

PAUL DOOLIN insists his players will recover from the mauling they received from Spain last night.

The prospect of Ireland staging a shock faded by the break when the tournament favourites led by two goals before adding another three to complete the rout.

"Spain scored (the first goal) at a period in the game when we looked okay," said Doolin afterwards in relation to the 27th-minute screamer scored by Barcelona 17-year-old Gerard Deulofeu.

"But, you see the difference in their players. Physically and technically, they were much better than us. Our team didn't perform on the night but there is no shame in defeat to such a quality Spain side.

"People thought we wouldn't even get out the elite qualifying stage but the lads have done fantastic to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship."

The Irish squad will depart Bucharest tonight for Dublin and can hold their heads high after a remarkable season that saw them bridge a nine-year gap from the time Brian Kerr last qualified an Irish team for the prestigious youth tournament.

Irish Independent