Cruel blow as Ireland U-19s miss out on Euros
Despite fulfilling their part of the permutation by beating Belgium 1-0, Ireland missed out on a place in the European U-19 Championships finals yesterday by virtue of their head-to-head record against Sweden.
A first-half own-goal by Belgium's David Luiz-lookalike Wout Faes following Trevor Clarke's cross gave Ireland victory over the mini-group hosts as Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher made a series of fine saves. However, it proved in vain as their defeat to the Swedes last Friday proved decisive.
With Ireland leading in Beveren, it took until 20 minutes from the end of their game against Italy for Sweden to score the only goal.
Equal on six points with Ireland, they progress to the Georgia-hosted finals at the expense of Tom Mohan's side.
"We could only carry out our side of the bargain and hope that Italy did us a favour against Sweden," said Mohan.
"If you look at Connor Ronan, Steven Kinsella and Jake Doyle-Hayes also missing, it's been an incredible effort from our lads.
"A lot of these players have big futures in the game. Three of our back four, plus Jayson Molumby in midfield, are eligible again next season. I don't think anybody could argue but that the future is bright."
Ireland - Kelleher (Liverpool); O'Keefe (Birmingham), Masterson (Liverpool), Rice (West Ham Utd), Wilson (Manchester City); Levingston (Wolves), Molumby (Brighton); Elbouzedi (West Brom), Carroll (Oxford Utd), Clarke (Shamrock Rovers); Hale (Birmingham City). Sub: McKenna (Wolves) for Levingston (51 mins)