Wednesday 25 April 2018

Molumby treble sets up U-19s for Serbia showdown in Euro qualifiers

Ireland U-19 5 Cyprus U-19 0

Jonathan Afolabi celebrates after scoring Ireland’s first goal in the U-19 European Championship qualifier against Cyprus at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jonathan Afolabi celebrates after scoring Ireland’s first goal in the U-19 European Championship qualifier against Cyprus at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ireland's U-19s may need a draw against table-toppers Serbia in tomorrow's concluding European Championship first phase qualifier to reach the elite phase.

Saturday night's stroll over Cyprus, led by Jayson Molumby's 16-minute first-half hat-trick, revived Ireland's campaign after they'd been held scoreless by Azerbaijan in their opening tie.

If Azerbaijan, as expected, beat Cyprus, then Ireland may require a draw against the classy Serbs to join them in next year's second round. Tom Mohan's side will seek victory to ensure they progress as group winners.

Southampton striker Jonathan Afolabi eased any early nerves on 12 minutes by swivelling inside the box and volleying home.

Ireland's Neil Farrugiain action against Petros Ioannou of Cyprus during the UEFA European U19 Championship Qualifier. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ireland's Neil Farrugiain action against Petros Ioannou of Cyprus during the UEFA European U19 Championship Qualifier. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

rocket Brighton midfielder Molumby, playing in front of his home crowd at the Waterford RSC, then took over to kill the tie before the break. Three minutes after his first, he unleashed a 25-yard rocket for the second before adding another from the penalty spot on 24 minutes.

Cyprus goalkeeper Demetris Demetriou went walkabout on the half-hour to allow Molumby nip in for his hat-trick.

The goalkeeper was also left wanting for Ireland's last goal on 67 minutes, as Afolabi's dipping shot slipped beneath his grasp.

Meanwhile, as of last night, the FAI still hadn't released their squad for the first phase of the U-17 Euro qualifiers, which kick off in Bulgaria tomorrow.

Colin O'Brien's side face Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the host nation seeking a top-two finish for a place in the next round.

Ireland U-19 - M Travers (Weymouth); D McKenna (Wolves), D O'Shea (Hereford Utd), W O'Hora (Bohemians), T Wilson (Manchester City); A Bolger (Shamrock Rovers), T O'Connor; L O'Connor (Manchester Utd), J Molumby (Brighton), N Farrugia (UCD); J Afolabi (Southampton).

Jason Molumbycelebrates after scoring Ireland's second goal of the game during the UEFA European U19 Championship Qualifier against Cyprus. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jason Molumbycelebrates after scoring Ireland's second goal of the game during the UEFA European U19 Championship Qualifier against Cyprus. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Subs: J Doherty (Sheffield Utd) for O'Hora (46 mins), J Martin (Waterford) for L O'Connor (67), M Obafemi (Southampton) for Molumby (74).

Irish Independent

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