Ireland begin UEFA U19 Championships Elite Phase with win

Ireland begin UEFA U19 Championships Elite Phase with win

REPUBLIC of Ireland U19s began their UEFA U19 Championships Elite Qualifying Round Group Four campaign with a thrilling victory over Iceland in Tallaght Stadium tonight.
28th May 2014

Republic of Ireland 2 Iceland 1

REPUBLIC of Ireland U19s began their UEFA U19 Championships Elite Qualifying Round Group Four campaign with a thrilling victory over Iceland in Tallaght Stadium tonight.

Paul Doolin's side sit top of the group after a double from Sam Byrne clinched the three points while the other teams in the section Serbia and Turkey drew 1-1 earlier in the day.

All four sides are battling to claim the one place in the finals tournament in Hungary this summer. Ireland meet Turkey on Friday, May 30, and then Serbia on Monday, June 2. All the Irish games are at Tallaght Stadium.

The Irish started well but had to rely on goalkeeper Eric Grimes to go in level at the break. On the half Grimes made an impressive tip over of a long range strike by Kristján Flóki Finnbogason then one minute later got down well to keep out a close range effort by Elías Már Ómarsson.

Byrne looked in sharp form for Ireland and had a couple of shots blocked but he duly found the net to open the scoring in the 50th minute when he headed home from close range.

The striker, recently released by Manchester United, then headed Ireland's second goal in the 60th minute when he connected with an excellent corner delivered by Alex O'Hanlon.

Iceland pulled one back seven minutes later when Ævar Ingi Jóhannesson placed a header to the Irish net after connecting with a deep free-kick from Emil Ásmundsson.

Byrne was unlucky not to restore the two goal advantage just one minute later but he was denied by keeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson from his powerful low strike.

Grimes and his back four then held firm with Alan Browne impressing with his industry in midfield as Doolin's men held on for the victory.

The senior international management team including Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane, Seamus McDonagh and Steve Guppy were all present to watch the game.

Republic of Ireland: Eric Grimes, Noe Baba, Bobby Moseley, Kyle McFadden, Sean Long, Alan Browne, Dylan Connolly, Thomas Mulroney, Sam Byrne, Alex O'Hanlon, Steven McCarthy. Subs: Ryan Goldsmith for McCarthy 76; Colm Crowe for O'Hanlon 90.

Iceland: Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, Adam Örn Arnarsson, Jón Ingason, Samúel Kári Friðjónsson, Emil Ásmundsson, Ævar Ingi Jóhannesson, Elías Már Ómarsson, Kristján Flóki Finnbogason, Daði Bergsson, Daníel Leó Grétarsson, Sindra Björnsson. Subs: Davíð Kristján Ólafsson for Bergsson 63; Heiðar Ægisson for Björnsson 73; Albert Guðmundsson for Arnarsson 80.

FIXTURES

Wednesday, May 28
UEFA U19 Championships Elite Qualifying Round Group Four
Republic of Ireland 2 Iceland 1, Tallaght Stadium;
Serbia 1 Turkey 1, Carlisle Grounds.

Friday, May 30
UEFA U19 Championships Elite Qualifying Round Group Four
Republic of Ireland v Turkey, Tallaght Stadium (7.00pm);
Serbia v Iceland, Carlisle Grounds (3.00pm).

Monday, June 2
UEFA U19 Championships Elite Qualifying Round Group Four
Republic of Ireland v Serbia, Tallaght Stadium (3.00pm);
Iceland v Turkey, UCD Bowl (3.00pm).