Sport Soccer

Sunday 18 February 2018

George keeps Irish hopes alive

Greece U-17 1 Ireland U-17 1

IRELAND can still clinch a spot in the finals of the UEFA U-17 Championship, despite having to settle for another draw in their second match of the elite qualifiers competition in Greece yesterday.

John Morling's charges went behind after only four minutes and appeared on their way out as they trailed Greece with just two minutes left, but Paul George -- who switched allegiance from Northern Ireland last month -- kept alive their hopes with a last-gasp goal for the second match in a row.

The Celtic winger's leveller means that an Ireland win over bottom-of-the-table Latvia on Monday, coupled with a scoreless or 1-1 draw between Denmark and Greece, would earn them a place in the Serbia-hosted finals in May.

A draw was the least the Irish deserved after showing great courage and no little skill after their early setback.

Greece goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino produced a magnificent double save from Kealan Dillon to keep his side in front, although Ireland enjoyed a stroke of good fortune when a combination of goalkeeper Joe Coll and the post denied the Greeks a second goal.

Ireland -- J Coll (Man Utd); C Horgan (Salthill Devon), S Kavanagh (Belvedere), T Hoban (Watford), S Smith (Arsenal), L Gallagher (Cherry Orchard), P George (Celtic), P Roberts (Arsenal), J Murphy (Reading), K Dillon (Derby County), S Byrne (St Joseph's). Subs: B Garmston (West Brom) for Murphy (h-t), K McEvoy (Spurs) for Roberts (65).

Irish Independent

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