Soccer Scene

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19.09.2007 at 19:00 Flancare Park Longford Attendance:
Rep of Ireland 1 - 0 Slovenia
Referee: Jiri Jech (Czech Republic) EC Qualifying Round / PROG T/S-match

Conor Hourihane (81)
Opening squads
Gerard Hanley
Gavin Gunning
Niall Byrne
Mark Connolly
Johnny Dunleavy
Richie Towell
Mark Power
Aaron Doran
Conor Hourihane
Greg Cunningham
Karl Sheppard
Azbe Jug
Matija Sirok
Miha Korosec
Matija Suligoj
Antonio Delamea Mlinar
Haris Vuckic
Jure Bracko
Martin Milec
Robert Beric
Nik Cimpric
Adnan Besic
Harry Lee
Pauric Ormsby
Gavan Holohan
Conor Clifford
John Sullivan
Paul Murphy-91
David Heagney
Jure Ikic
Boban Jovic
Dominik Domej
Matevz Lenosek
Robert Kurez
Sandi Arcon
John Sullivan -> Richie Towell (41)
Gavan Holohan -> Mark Power (41)
Paul Murphy-91 -> Karl Sheppard (62)
Haris Vuckic (out)
Sandi Arcon (in) 53 mins;
Martin Milec (out)
Robert Kurez (in) 60 mins;
Jure Bracko (out)
Dominik Domej (in) 74 mins;
Yellow cards
Karl Sheppard (52)
Matija Suligoj 41 mins;
Matija Sirok 43 mins;
Robert Kurez 68 mins;
Red cards
None. None
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
UEFA U-17 First Phase Qualifier
Flancare Park, Longford

Republic of Ireland 1 – 0 Slovenia
Hourihane 80 +1

Ireland’s Under-17 team left it late to score against Slovenia at Flancare Park tonight but they found the winner in injury-time to claim their third win in a row of their UEFA first phase qualifying group.

The Irish battled to the end in search of a goal to crown a fabulous five days of football. As the game entered stoppage-time, Greg Cunningham found space on the left-wing to send in a deep cross to Conor Hourihane who showed composure to volley a low shot into the bottom corner.

Ireland now proceed to the Elite phase of the qualifying series having collected nine points from their three games. After scoring six goals and only conceding one, they may be rewarded with a first seeding in the upcoming draw for that second qualifying stage.

Manchester City striker Cunningham had contributed enormously to Ireland’s pair of wins over Ukraine and Denmark but was without a goal to show for his efforts.

The Galway man was presented with Ireland’s first opening of the evening when he controlled a left-wing cross from Karl Sheppard in the tenth minute but his shot from the edge of the box lacked the power to trouble Slovenian goalkeeper Azbe Jug.

Conor Hourihane switched from his normal left-wing position to central midfield for this match and supplied most of Ireland’s invention in the first half.

He floated in a corner to the far post after 20 minutes where Mark Connolly broke free of his marker to connect with the ball. The central-defender scored from a similar situation against the Danes but wasn’t so precise this time and his volley sliced high and wide.

Ireland finished the first of the 40 minutes halves strongly with Cunningham hauled back 20 yards out to give the Republic a free-kick in a threatening position. Hourihane’s kick managed to evade the wall but the ‘keeper got down low to foil the effort.

Slovenia’s best chance of the first half fell to Martic Melic from a free-kick with twelve minutes gone and though his shot was on-target, Ireland goalkeeper Ger Hanley was alert and gathered the ball comfortably.

The Irish looked dangerous from set-pieces early in the second half. Gavin Gunning’s aerial ability caused the Slovenians plenty of unsettling moments as he repeatedly strode forward for corners and free-kicks. Eleven minutes after the restart, he met a corner chipped in by Aaron Doran with a glancing header which angled marginally wide of the post.

Doran had moved from the wing into a central striker’s role for the second half and was on the end of Ireland’s most clear-cut opportunities.

Substitute Paul Murphy put him through on goal with an incisive pass ten minutes from full-time. He chose to try his luck from 25-yards and the ‘keeper was equal to the shot.

Cunningham set Doran up once more with five minutes remaining and although his shot on this occasion was going into the net, Slovenia defender Koresec stuck out his leg and deflected the effort out for a corner.

Ireland couldn’t get past the goalkeeper but eventually netted the elusive goal in the final moments. It was worth waiting for.

Ireland manager Sean McCaffrey says his team can look forward to the next phase with a great deal of optimism. “We played extremely well over the three matches. Tonight, we started off the game slowly but created numerous chances in the second half and I was pleased that we finally got the goal.

“This Slovenia team beat England two-nil only a couple of months ago, so they had a good pedigree. Tonight, however, we didn’t give them space to play and we were worthy of the win.”

Denmark took the second qualifying place on offer in the group. They cemented their slot in the next round by defeating Ukraine 2-0 in Terryland Park.

Republic of Ireland Team:
Gerard Hanley – Salthill Devon
Niall Byrne - Shelbourne
Mark Power - Aston Villa
John Dunleavy – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Mark Connolly – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Gavin Gunning – Blackburn Rovers
Richard Towell – Celtic
Aaron Doran – Blackburn Rovers
Conor Hourihane – Sunderland
Greg Cunningham – Manchester City
Karl Sheppard – Everton
Substitutions: Gavin Holohan (Cherry Orchard) for Power and John Sullivan (Crumlin United) for Towell (41 mins). Paul Murphy (Ipswich Town) for Sheppard (61 mins)

Slovenia: Jug, Sirok, Korosec, Suligoj, Delenea, Vuckic (Arcon 52 mins), Bracko (Domej 72 mins), Milec (Kurez 59 mins), Beric, Cimpric, Besic.

UEFA first phase qualifying results and fixtures - Group 5:

Friday 14th September
Denmark 1 - 1 Slovenia
Lissywoolen, Athlone (2.30 pm)

Ukraine 1-3 Republic of Ireland
Terryland Park, Galway (7 pm)

Sunday 16th September
Slovenia 1 – 1 Ukraine
Flancare Park, Longford (2.30 pm)

Denmark 0 -2 Republic of Ireland
Lissywoolen, Athlone (7 pm)

Wednesday 19th September
Ukraine 0-2 Denmark
Terryland Park, Galway (7 pm)

Republic of Ireland 1-0 Slovenia
Flancare Park, Longford (7 pm)
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