Monday 22 January 2018

Smith hoping Irish exploits will find him club

STEVEN SMITH has two missions this week – to help Ireland qualify for the finals of the European U-19 Championship and to do enough to catch the eye of a new club.

The London-born defender, who has been superb in Ireland's two elite-phase qualifiers, was released by Leicester City last month and is praying that his international exploits help him relaunch his career.

Scoring an injury-time equaliser in Saturday's dramatic 2-2 draw with Slovakia certainly didn't do him any harm.

Sam Byrne put Ireland ahead on 24 minutes and Kieran Sadlier then twice went close to extending the lead.

However, goals from Matus Marcin and the impressive Albert Rusnak, who plays for Manchester City, looked to have ended Ireland's hopes until Smith volleyed the ball home just a minute after Slovakia had taken the lead.

Ireland must now beat Serbia tomorrow and hope that Switzerland lose to Slovakia.

"We still have all to play for on the last day and that's a great credit to the players. They have played nine international games and have yet to lose, which is fantastic," said Doolin.

IRELAND – Lawlor; Long, Sweeney, Smith, Griffin; Baba (Gallagher 57), Miele (Kavanagh 69); McEvoy, Sadlier, Evans (Garmston h-t); Byrne.

Irish Independent

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