UEFA U19 CHAMPIONSHIP ELITE QUALIFIER
Republic of Ireland 2 – 0 Hungary
Ireland got the win they set out to collect against Hungary but their quest to reach the European Championships was ruined by Germany’s victory over Bulgaria.
Cillian Sheridan put Sean McCaffrey’s side ahead with five minutes left before James Ryan fired a tremendous second goal on the stroke of full-time.
Ireland needed Germany to drop points against Bulgaria to keep their qualification ambitions intact but goals from Dennis Schmidt and Sidney Sam inside the first half an hour gave the Germans the result they needed to conclude the pool as winners.
The Irish had been left frustrated for most of the match by their lack of finishing prowess but Sheridan, making his first start of the three-game series, was on hand to break the deadlock on 85 minutes.
Keith Treacy was the architect of the goal, skipping inside on the right side before delivering a deep cross into the box where Sheridan connected with a downward header from twelve yards which flew past Hungary goalkeeper Bence Somodi.
The Irish had finally unlocked a resolute Hungary defence and they repeated it in the 90th minute when Liverpool midfielder James Ryan added a second goal.
On as a second substitute, Ryan scored his first goal of the season with a clinical long-range shot into the top-left corner after the Hungarian defence could only clear a cross into the schemer’s path on the edge of the box.
Sheridan, Adam Rooney and Simon Madden all had chances to open the scoring for Ireland in the first half.
Hungary, for their part, looked dangerous on the break but Ireland’s creativity in the midfield area through the industrious Robert Bayly ensured they controlled most of the exchanges.
A gallant display and a good result by Ireland but the Germany defeat undid their hopes.
Sean McCaffrey said: “We were the best team in the group but lost out to a dubious penalty decision against Germany on Wednesday.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from the players," he added. "They gave it everything tonight to get a deserved win, their second from three matches in the group. We’ll move on from this set-back and be better for the experience. The players are continuing to develop into top professionals and they did their country proud this week.”
IRELAND: Stephen Henderson (Aston Villa), Simon Madden (Leeds United), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa), Michael Spillane (Norwich City), Eddie Nolan (Blackburn Rovers) - captain, Alan Judge (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Power (Nottingham Forest), Robert Bayly (Leeds United), Cillian Sheridan (Celtic), Keith Treacy (Blackburn Rovers), Adam Rooney (Stoke City).
SUBS: Aidan Downes (Everton) for Rooney (60 mins), Jimmy Ryan (Liverpool) for Judge (80 mins) and Noel Haverty (St. Patrick's Athletic) for Bayly (90 mins)
HUNGARY: Somodi, Sipos (Debrecemi 73 mins), J. Nagy, S. Nagy, Filkor, Nemeth, Gyomber, Meszaros (Simon 80 mins), Vadnai, Pinter, Farkas.
REFEREE: B. Duartepaixao (Portugal)
UEFA U19 Championship Elite Qualification Results:
Second, Elite qualifying phase:
Monday 14/05/07: Hungary 0 - 0 Germany, The Carlisle Grounds Bray 2.30 p.m
Republic of Ireland 3 - 0 Bulgaria , United Park Drogheda 7.00 p.m.
Wednesday 16/05/07: Hungary 1 - 1 Bulgaria, Belfield Park 2.30 p.m.
Germany 1 - 0 Republic of Ireland, Dalymount Park 7.00 p.m.
Today, 19/05/07: Republic of Ireland 2 – 0 Hungary, United Park Drogheda 7.00 p.m. Bulgaria 0 – 2 Germany, Belfield Park 7.00 p.m.
The Republic of Ireland missed out on a place in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals despite concluding their Group 1 campaign with victory against Hungary in Drogheda.
Having lost their second fixture 1-0 to Germany on Wednesday, Sean McCaffrey's side went into tonight's game knowing they had to win at United Park and hope Germany failed to beat the section's bottom side Bulgaria to win the Elite round group and secure a place in the finals in Austria in July. In the event Germany won 2-0, although Ireland at least had the consolation of ending their campaign on a winning note as late goals from Cilian Sheridan and substitute James Ryan assured the mini-tournament hosts of second place in the section.