A goal in the first half from Eva Mangan, followed by second-half finishes from Scarlett Herron, Jenna Slattery and captain Emma Doherty were enough for the young Girls in Green to secure second place in Group A1.
Dave Connell’s team went into the game in Gjemselund with confidence off the back of beating Norway 2-1 on Saturday. However, Germany’s 10-0 demolition of Croatia over the weekend meant Ireland would require a win, a Germany defeat and a 20-goal swing to reach the finals.
Regardless, they knew a win would secure their spot as second seeds for the next campaign and when Cork City’s Eva Mangan found the bottom corner after capitalising on a poor clearance just before the break, Ireland never looked backed.
In fact, it could have been two before half time when Eve Dossen saw her effort strike the underside of the crossbar and bounce on the line as the Women’s Under-19s looked to put Croatia to the sword.
In the second half it was one-way traffic. Ten minutes into the second period, Dossen hit the crossbar again with an effort but this time it fell to Athlone Town’s Herron to finish to give Ireland a two-goal cushion.
Croatia, who had suffered two defeats in the group games, looked to find a way back into the game and with 20 minutes remaining they had it with Andrea Iljkić heading in at the back post.
But any chance of a Croatia fightback were put to bed four minutes from time when Slattery and Rolake Ayoola Olusola linked well before Galway United’s Slattery found the top-right corner for 3-1.
To cap off an impressive performance Sligo Rovers’ Doherty went through one-on-one before rolling the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs in 88th minute.
Croatia: Sabo, Barunović (Prskalo 71’), Vračević, Ivandić, Jakobašić (Petković 58’), Živkovič, Śaban, Blaźević (Jakir 61’), Krznaric, Mikulica (Novak 71’), Iljkić
Ireland: Merren, O’Kane, K. Thompson, Dossen, Russell, Doherty (Prizeman 88’), Mangan (Slattery 84’), Morrin,Herron, Pullen (Olusola 61’), O’Leary (Shine 88')
Referee: Ewa Augustyn (Poland)
2023 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship – Round 2 Results
April 5 | Ireland WU19 0-5 Germany WU19
April 8 | Norway WU19 1-2 Ireland WU19
April 11 | Croatia WU19 1-4 Ireland WU19