Saturday 24 February 2018

Two late goals hand Ireland U21 a crucial European championship qualifier victory

Substitute Sean Maguire wrapped up a last-gasp victory from the penalty spot as the Republic of Ireland's Under-21s ended a run of four successive European Championship qualifier defeats with a 2-0 win over Slovenia.

Cork City's Maguire, who had only been on the pitch for seconds, struck in stoppage time after Slovenia defender Denis Sme had been sent off for a second bookable offence for bringing him down to complete a dramatic victory for Noel King's men at Waterford RSC.

His effort came after Everton's Harry Charsley had fired the home side into an 87th-minute lead from Josh Cullen's knock-down with time running out fast.

With senior manager Martin O'Neill watching from the stands, the Republic enjoyed the better of the game, but could not make the pressure tell until the dying stages.

Debutant Olamide Shodipo impressed and saw a second-half strike ruled out for handball, but a late flurry proved decisive.

King's men, who won their first three qualifiers but have fallen off the pace since, went into the game knowing they could not qualify for the finals, but determined to end on a high note.

They face Serbia in Novi Sad on Tuesday night before welcoming them to Waterford next month as the curtain falls on the qualifying campaign.

Press Association

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