Ireland U19s beaten by Serbia
Serbia U-19 1 - 0 Republic of Ireland U-19
Luka Milunović 71
The Republic of Ireland Under-19s were narrowly beaten by fellow qualifiers Serbia in the concluding UEFA Under-19 first phase qualifying match played today (Tuesday) in Lokomotiv, Bulgaria.
Both teams were assured of their passage into the elite phase on the back of victories against Luxembourg and Bulgaria, prompting each manager to make changes to the starting line-ups.
Irish Head Coach Paul Doolin gave first starts of the campaign to Carl McHugh (Reading), Anthony O'Connor (Blackburn Rovers) and Craig Walsh (Longford Town).
Ten minutes had elapsed when Ireland fashioned their first opening as Declan Walker's cross drifted into the box where the unmarked Gary Shaw couldn't apply a proper connection with his head.
Robert Brady was next to go close for Doolin's side, cutting inside and forcing a save from goalkeeper Marko Dmitrović.
Ireland lost Shaw midway through the half when his ankle injury caused him to be substituted for Stephen McDonnell.
The Boys in Green should have gone ahead three minutes before the break when Shane Duffy rose above his marker inside the box yet nodded over the crossbar.
Serbia came more into the game after the break but Ireland continued to probe with both Brady and Jeff Hendrick getting on the end of chances without troubling Dmitrović.
While the Irish struggled to take their opportunities, Serbia capitalised upon one of their few when Luka Milunović popped up at the back post to head a right-wing cross past goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.
Irish captain winger Brady was inches wide with a shot in the dying minutes for the last chance of the game.
Republic of Ireland: McCarey (Wolves); Walker (Wrexham), McGinty (Man United), Duffy (Everton), O'Connor (Blackburn Rovers); Walsh (Longford Town), Hendrick (Derby County), McHugh (Reading); Horgan (Salthill Devon), Shaw (Bray Wanderers), Brady (Man United).
Substitutions: McDonnell (Dundalk) for Shaw (24 mins), O'Brien (Derby County) for Walsh (59 mins), Irwin (Bolton Wanderers) for McHugh (74 mins).