Katidis double kills off Irish
IRELAND'S U-17s opened their UEFA elite phase qualifying campaign with a disappointing defeat to mini-group hosts Greece in Patras yesterday.
After a close first-half in which both sides missed chances, Greece took control in the 20-degree heat and fired home three second half goals to see off Sean McCaffrey's charges.
The Irish must now regroup and try to get their qualifying ambitions for the finals back on track when they take on Finland tomorrow before concluding their group games against Austria next Wednesday. Finland and Austrai drew 3-3 yesterday.
Ireland's defence held firm in the opening half in the face of Greece's swift counter-attacking play, but there was going to be only one winner once the deadlock was broken in the 55th minute when Georgios Katidis rose to head the ball home and further goals from Katidis (69), and Dimitrios Diamantakos (78) ensured an easy win for the hosts.
McCaffrey admitted: "Today's performance was disappointing. We played poorly and with little energy. We lacked sparkle. I think the heat might have been a factor. It was our worst performance this season."
Ireland U-17: McDermott (Arsenal); Williams (Aston Villa), McGinty (Man Utd), Bryan (Aston Villa), Barker (Belvedere); Smith (Southend), McHugh (Reading), Byrne (Leicester), Knight (Leicester); Murphy (Reading), Purdy (West Ham).
Subs:Sutherland (QPR) for McHugh, Rodgers (Chelsea) for Smith (both h/t), O'Brien (Millwall) for Murphy (62 mins)