Ireland U17 Girls reach UEFA finals
Under-17 UEFA Women's Championship Elite stage qualifier
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Sweden
Rianna Jarrett 58 (pen) Ericsson 2
Megan Campbell 66
The Republic of Ireland Under-17 Girls team produced a fantastic second half comeback to beat Sweden today in their concluding UEFA Elite qualifier and reach the European Championships in Nyon, Switzerland.
Noel King's side knew that despite their unbeaten record in the competition of five matches to date, only victory today at the Krymteplitsa Stadium in Ukraine against the giants of European women's football, Sweden, would propel them into the Championship showpiece.
And their prospects of reaching the four-team finals looked to be slipping away as early as the 2nd minute when Magdalena Ericsson beat Irish goalkeeper Grace Maloney to give the Swedes the lead.
But Ireland regrouped to gain a foothold on proceedings and were unlucky not to be level by the break.
They continued to press and found an equaliser through substitute Rianna Jarrett's penalty kick on 58 minutes.
Requiring the full three points to edge out the Swedes for top spot in the four-nation mini-group, the Girls in Green raided forward searching for the winner and, after Denise O'Sullivan (pictured) drew a foul from Ilestdet just outside the box on 66 minutes, Megan Campbell stepped up to smash the free-kick beyond goalkeeper Jessica Höglander for the decisive goal.
Noel King's side become the first Irish Ladies team to ever reach a major UEFA Championship finals and will represent Ireland from Tuesday 22 June until Saturday 26 June at the Colovray Stadium opposite UEFA's Swiss headquarters in Nyon.
As only four qualifiers feature at the finals, Ireland will go head-to-head with reigning champions Germany in the UEFA semi-final for a place in the European final.
Spain will face the Netherlands in the other semi-final, with the two finalists and the winner of the 3rd/4th place play-off earning the right to participate in the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago from September 5-25.
*More match details as well as reaction from management and players to follow...
Republic of Ireland v Sweden:
Grace Moloney - Reading FC
Jessica Gleeson - Tramore FC
Dora Gorman - Salthill Devon
Denise O'Sullivan - Wilton United
Megan Campbell - St. Francis FC
Ciara Grant - Kilmacrennan Celtic
Stacie Jayne Donnelly - Reading FC
Ciara O'Brien - Tramore FC
Aileen Gilroy - Killala FC
Siobhan Killeen - Raheny United
Jennifer Byrne - Bealnamulla FC
Rianna Jarrett - North End United for Donnelly (49 mins)
Kerry Glynn - Montclair Thunderbolts
Niamh McLaughlin - Greencastle FC (suspended)
Amanda Budden - Wilton United
Rebecca Kearney - Lakewood Athletic
Clare Shine - Douglas Hall FC
Tanya Kennedy - Finn Valley FC
Management: Noel King, Sharon Boyle, Harry Kenny
UEFA Women's U17 elite qualifying phase results:
Saturday, April 10th 2010
Republic of Ireland 3-1 Ukraine
Fiolent Stadium, Simferopol
Tuesday, April 13th 2010
Poland 1-1 Republic of Ireland
Krymteplitsa Stadium, Simferopol
Thursday, April 15th 2010
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Sweden.