Ireland Women's U17s manager Dave Connell 'delighted' after Euro qualification
UEFA gave official confirmation this evening that Dave Connell's Women's U17 side are through to the European finals, having finished their Elite Phase unbeaten on April 14.
The side finished best runners up out of the six qualifying groups in the Elite Phase but had to wait until all of the matches were completed today before receiving final confirmation from UEFA.
The confirmation means that Ireland qualify to the finals in Iceland in June and take their place among last eight in Europe.
"It's been a hard wait but probably as far back as Tuesday evening we were pretty confident that things would go our way," head coach Dave Connell said.
"You always have to wait for UEFA confirmation with these situations and the girls had been on to me morning noon and night so it is great for them that it's now confirmed. I am delighted for them. They worked really hard to get the results against England, the Netherlands and Hungary."
"Looking back at the Hungary match on DVD, the Hungarians definitely handled the ball on the line but unfortunately that was missed by the officials. It would have been nice to qualify automatically but now the focus turns to the finals in Iceland.
"We will go there as the outsiders but we did that last year with the under 19 girls and hopefully we can create a few upsets this time too."
FAI CEO John Delaney said also paid tribute to the team after their qualification.
"I'd want to congratulate Dave Connell and squad on the achievement of qualifying for the finals and the last eight in Europe," he said. "The girls worked tremendously hard in each of the matches, and to have come through the Elite Phase with a clean sheet having beaten England is really outstanding."
"In qualifying, they join Tom Mohan's men's under 17s who are also through to the European finals in May, making it a very special year for our underage sides."