06.10.2016 at 12:00 Selman Stėrmasi Stadium, Tirana
0 - 1
Rep of Ireland Under 19
Referee: Antti Munukka (Finland)
Corey O Keeffe
Jake Doyle Hayes
Anio Poci for Kote 46 mins,
Kleandro Lleshi for Kallaku 62 mins
Xhonathan Lajthia for Zeka 70 mins,
Jayson Molumby -> Ronan Hale (61)
Ireland U19s beat Albania in UEFA Qualifier
THE Republic of Ireland U19 side began their UEFA U19 Championships Qualifying campaign with a hard-earned victory over mini-tournament hosts Albania in Tirana this morning.
Tom Mohans side edged out the hosts thanks to a first half penalty converted by Wolves midfielder Connor Ronan.
Ireland had 11 attempts on goal to three from the Albanians but the Irish boss was pleased to have got off to winning ways in a group that also includes Gibraltar and Germany.
Reading striker Josh Barrett was the first to test either keeper in the 26th minute but home keeper Gentian Selmani made a save and seven minutes later Selmani kept out a Ronan Hale effort.
Ireland were handed the opportunity to take the lead in the 43rd minute when defender Elis Doksani was adjudged to have handled a right wing cross and Ronan stepped up to slot home from the spot-kick.
Barrett hit the crossbar with a decent strike in the 52nd minute and the Irish looked to extend their lead while being aware of the Albania threat on the counter-attack.
Selmani denied Barrett again in injury-time but overall the Irish were pleased to claim the three points and will look to build on this result when they meet Gibraltar on Saturday.
\"It was a vital three points and was always going to be a difficult first game especially considering how warm it was,\" said Mohan.
\"Albania were a strong physical side who looked to cause problems at set-pieces and on the break. We had to defend well and cope with their threats and I was very pleased with how we managed the game.
\"We had a lot of chances to go two or three up but we should have been more clinical. It\'s good to create chances but it would have been lot less nervous at the end if we\'d put them away.
\"The boys showed good maturity in their play and we handled the game well so we\'ll go on to the next game now looking to build from this.\"
ALBANIA: Gentian Selmani, Romario Hajrulla, Granuel Lika, Ymer Shaba, Leonardo Maloku, Elis Doksani, Sherif Kallaku (Kleandro Lleshi 62), Marko Cema, Glejdis Ndraxhi, Agim Zeka (Xhonathan Lajthia 70), Kristi Kote (Anio Poci 46).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Caoimhin Kelleher, Corey O\'Keeffe, Trevor Clarke, Conor Masterson, Conor Levingston, Zachary Elbouzedi, Jake Doyle-Hayes, Ronan Hale (Jayson Molumby 61), Connor Ronan, Josh Barrett, Darragh Leahy.
RESULTS & FIXTURES
UEFA U19 Championships Qualifying Round Group Four
Thursday, October 6
Albania 0-1 Republic of Ireland, Selman Stermazi, Tirana (ALB)
Saturday, October 8
Republic of Ireland v Gibraltar, Niko Dovana, Durres (ALB) (11.00am Irish)
Tuesday, October 11
Republic of Ireland v Germany, Niko Dovana, Durres (ALB) (1.00pm Irish)