Cyprus 0 - 2 Republic of Ireland | 2017 - UEFA Under-17 Championship | 2021293

UEFA Under-17 ChampionshipElite Round | Kouklia Community Stadium, Paphos
20 March 2017 - 15:00 (local time)

Cyprus 0 - 2 Republic of Ireland

Full-time Connolly(40, 80+ 3)
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REPORT: Connolly double seals three in a row for U17s

THE Republic of Ireland U17 side finished off their Elite Phase qualifying group with a clean sweep of victories after a 2-0 win over mini-tournament hosts Cyprus in Paphos this afternoon.
Ireland U17s huddle.png
20th Mar 2017

Colin O’Brien’s side had already ensured their place in the UEFA U17 Finals in May after the second series of games but Aaron Connolly’s double ensured they would top the group with nine points and three clean sheets.

Faroe Islands surprisingly finished runners-up in the group after a 2-1 win over Slovakia in the other fixture in the group.

Connolly fired over from a free-kick early on but Cyprus wasted a massive opportunity in the tenth minute when the lively Ioannis Costi set-up Andreas Katsantonis in front of goal but his strike was well off target. 

Six minutes later Brandon Kavanagh was unlucky to see a well struck free-kick touched onto an upright by home goalkeeper Rafail Pittadjis.

In the 26th minute Irish keeper Brian Maher produced a decent stop to keep out Giannis Gerolemou’s strike from the edge of the box.

Defender Jordan Doherty was well placed to head away a powerful strike from Michalis Ioannou on the half hour.

After soaking up the early spell of pressure, Ireland took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Connolly raced through onto a Kavanagh pass to go on and round the keeper before slotting into an empty net.

Ireland were unlucky not to extend their lead in the 57th minute when a stinging drive from Conor Coventry was palmed away by the home keeper.

In the 82nd minute Connolly was unfortunate not to add a second when his strike was deflected narrowly over following good work down the right by Rowan Roache.

Connolly duly wrapped it up three minutes into injury time when he drilled to the bottom corner after Adam Idah cut the ball back to the edge of the box. The final whistle blew moments later.

“Cyprus attacked with a lot of numbers especially in the first half. We sorted ourselves out defensively and did well in the second half,” said O’Brien.

“I can’t credit the lads any higher today. They had to defend well, organisation was a priority and they did very well in that function of the game. We could have wrapped it up earlier but it’s been a very positive note to finish the group off.

“The players were a credit to themselves this week. There were a few tired bodies at the end but they’ve given great commitment to the cause this week and got their reward by topping the group."

CYPRUS: Pittadjis, Sergiou, Karayiannis, Andreou (Louka 66), Costi, Toumazou (Andreou 49), Ioannou (Raounas 59), Gerolemou, Shelis, Katsantonis, Genethliou.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Maher, O'Connor (O’Farrell 41), Ledwidge, Doherty, Collins, McAuley (Idah 59), Coventry, Connolly, Kilkenny (Roache 66), Kavanagh, Nolan.

RESULTS

Wednesday, 15 March: Republic of Ireland 4-0 Faroe Islands, Paphos

Friday, 17 March: Republic of Ireland 1-0 Slovakia, Paphiakos Stadium, Paphos

Monday, 20 March: Republic of Ireland 2-0 Cyprus, Kouklia Community Stadium, Paphos 

O'Brien's U17s look to end UEFA group with Cyprus win

THE Republic of Ireland U17 side will seek to finish off their UEFA Elite Phase programme with a 100 percent success rate when they meet mini-tournament hosts Cyprus in Paphos tomorrow.
U17 Slovakia line-up 170317.png
19th Mar 2017

Colin O’Brien’s side has already secured its place in the finals in May thanks to a 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands and a 1-0 victory over Slovakia but the Irish Head Coach wants to ensure they return home on a high.

Qualifying for the UEFA Finals in Croatia in his first season as Head Coach of the side is a brilliant achievement by O’Brien, his staff and the players and they will look to maintain the high standards they have set for themselves.

“Our aim is to top our group and maintain the work we’ve done this week,” said O’Brien.

“At the moment everybody is fine. We had a light day on Saturday then picked it up again today in preparation for the final game in the group. Once again all 18 players are fit which is a credit to everybody involved.

“We’ve seen plenty of Cyprus in their opening two games. They’ll be a wounded animal at this point with hurt pride and will want to end the tournament with a win. However we’ll be fully focused on ourselves while being aware of their threats.

“The defensive side of things has been a target this week for our players. They wanted clean sheets and they’re a determined bunch of boys and I know they would like to end the competition with another game without conceding a goal.”

RESULTS & FIXTURES

Wednesday, 15 March: Republic of Ireland 4-0 Faroe Islands, Paphos
Friday, 17 March: Republic of Ireland 1-0 Slovakia, Paphiakos Stadium, Paphos
Monday, 20 March: Republic of Ireland v Cyprus, Kouklia Community Stadium, Paphos (CYP), KO 13:00