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U-17s through to Euro finals despite going down in Poland

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Ireland's Under 17s celebrate after securing their place in the European Chmapionships in Poland yesterday

Ireland's Under 17s celebrate after securing their place in the European Chmapionships in Poland yesterday

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Ireland's Shane Hanney under pressure from Poland's Pawel Kaczmarczyk

Ireland's Shane Hanney under pressure from Poland's Pawel Kaczmarczyk

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Ireland's Eoin Stokes in action against Robert Gumny

Ireland's Eoin Stokes in action against Robert Gumny

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Ireland's Jonathon Lunney challenges Mateusz Ostaszewski, Poland

Ireland's Jonathon Lunney challenges Mateusz Ostaszewski, Poland

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Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, left, and Jonathon Lunney, centre watch on as Pawel Kaczmarczyk scores for Poland

Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, left, and Jonathon Lunney, centre watch on as Pawel Kaczmarczyk scores for Poland

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Ireland's Under 17s celebrate after securing their place in the European Chmapionships in Poland yesterday

The disappointment of losing their concluding qualifier swiftly vanished for Ireland yesterday as their passage into the UEFA European Championship finals in Bulgaria in May soon followed.

Due to the expansion of the showpiece this season, Tom Mohan's side squeezed into the 16-nation finals as one of the seven best runners-up across the eight elite stage groups.

"Qualification is good for football in Ireland and for the people who work with developing these players," said Mohan after securing Ireland a finals place for the first time since 2008.

"It's great reward for the players, their clubs and their families. These boys have delivered."

Four points amassed from their opening pair of qualifiers against Greece and Belarus shunted the Boys in Green into a strong position to progress but not even a pre-match video message from Martin O'Neill could prevent them losing to the hosts of the four-nation elite pool.

Poland, out of contention to qualify, struck the winner after 10 minutes when Pawel Kaczmarczyk swept the ball past Caoimhin Kelleher.

The Irish goalkeeper produced a string of saves to keep his team in the tie and it proved vital as many of the qualifiers for the finals were decided by goal difference.

"It was a hard battle and we would have loved to get a result but we're delighted to progress to the finals," concluded Mohan.

Ireland - Kelleher; O'Keeffe, Lunney (Stokes 41), Masterson, Leahy; Hanney, Barrett; Ronan, Clarke (Levingston 71), Wade-Slater (Elbouzedi 55); Aherne.

Ref - O Mammadov (AZE)

Irish Independent