|Paul Doolin's Irish U19s will need a positive result from Tuesday's concluding Group A game against hosts Romania in the European Championships after they allowed Czech Republic come from behind to inflict the first defeat in nine on Paul Doolin's side.|
Qualification for the semi-finals will go to the wire after Greece defeated Romania 1-0 in the other Group A game on Saturday. The results to date puts the Czech Republic on top of the table with six points, followed by Ireland and Greece on three while Romania sit on the bottom with no points from two fixtures. The latest results throw up a whole range of permutations for the final round of group fixtures but Paul Doolin's focus will inevitably turn to achieving a positive result against Romania on Tuesday.
Blackburn's John O'Sullivan had Ireland ahead at the break but two goals in two minutes midway through the second half dashed their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals regardless of their result against Romania.
Paul Doolin made just one change from the side that beat Greece, with Conor Murphy making way for Connor Smith to lead the frontline as the lone striker supported by wingers Seán Murray and Anthony Forde.
Early in the first half, Ireland came close to falling behind. Firstly, the unmarked Pavel Kadeřábek was allowed to a free header from the edge of the box on eight minutes only to direct the effort wide.
While Ireland goalkeeper Aaron McCarey wasn't properly tested in the opening ten minutes, the Wolves stopper was forced to dive low to his left to deny Ladislav Krejčí's shot after the winger availed of a mix-up between the two centre-backs.
Far from allowing the pressure to deter them, the Irish instantly mounted an attack and found the breakthrough courtesy of a fortunate goal for John O'Sullivan.
Any danger from Sean Murray's right-wing cross looked to have been averted by the Czech defence when Tomáš Kalas headed away. However, when the onrushing Irish full-back Derrick Williams shot at goal from 35 yards, his effort deflected off O'Sullivan on the edge of box, spinning into the net beyond goalkeeper Tomáš Koubek.
Ireland assumed control of the game following their early strike and could have doubled their lead three minutes later. Carruthers fed Anthony Forde on the left and after cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and delivering a cross, Connor Smith's glancing header was tipped around the post for a corner by Koubek.
Ireland continued to press and two defenders, John Egan and Matt Doherty, each passed up chances when Murray's corners caught the defence napping.
But the indicators of a resurgent Czech side became to the fore six minutes before the break as Jiří Skalák wriggled free six yards out yet couldn't direct his close-range header on target.
Czech manager, Jaroslav Hrebik freshened up his attack after the break with the introduction of Patrik Lácha which brought a cutting edge to their play.
Equally, the withdrawal of O'Sullivan eleven minutes after the break due to the hip flexor injury he's been carrying all week robbed Ireland of much of their creative spark.
The group's top seeds sensed an opening and they hit the Irish with two goals in as many minutes.
On 69 minutes, Williams' concession of a free-kick on the right enabled Adam Jánoš whip in a free kick that travelled all the way to the back post where captain Jacub Brabec arrived on cue to steer his header high into the top corner.
Doolin's side barely had time to absorb that set-back when they slipped behind. On this occasion, Patrik Lácha controlled the breaking ball midway into the Ireland half and made full use of McCarey's coming off his goal-line by unleashing a screamer from 30 yards which rattled the net.