Irish wait on stricken Macedonia
A BOUT of food poisoning amongst the Macedonia squad has caused the postponement of their UEFA U-17 Championship qualifier against Ireland by 24 hours.
The Irish were scheduled to follow up their 1-1 draw with top seeds Sweden by meeting the mini-groups hosts today in Skopje.
However, UEFA have given Macedonia 24 hours' grace after they opened their campaign a day late by drawing 1-1 with Romania.
Ireland were well worth their draw with Sweden, having dominated the match for long periods.
They forged ahead three minutes after the restart through Fulham's Waterford native Dean O'Halloran, but Sweden made their late pressure count, with Gustav Engvall equalising 12 minutes from time.
"I felt the boys played well enough to win the game but a point against a quality Sweden side has to be considered a decent start," said manager Tom Mohan. Following their second match tomorrow, Ireland will complete the campaign against Romania on Thursday, hoping to claim a top-two finish and a place in the next qualifying round.
Meanwhile, the Irish women's U-17 team open their qualifying campaign against Belarus in Minsk today.
Ireland -- Burke (Sunderland); Dempsey (Aston Villa), Baba (Castlebar Celtic), Cleary (Liverpool), Rainey (Wolves); Donnellan (College Corinthians), Byrne (Manchester City), Mulhall (Stella Maris); O'Halloran (Fulham), Stokes (Leeds United), Mulraney (Nottingham Forest). Subs: Confey (St Kevin's Boys) for Stokes (76), Galvin (Ipswich Town) for Mulraney (76).