REPORT | MU17 | Ireland draw a blank against Iceland
Oct 14 2023
Ireland Men’s Under-17s were held to a 0-0 draw with Iceland in their second UEFA European Under-17s Championship qualifier in Cork.
The stalemate means Ireland require at least a draw against Switzerland on Tuesday to guarantee qualification to the Elite Round.
Colin O’Brien’s side could have won it late on when Mason Melia’s effort bounced off the underside of the bar in the 93rd minute as Iceland held out.
A win would have guaranteed Ireland’s place in the next phase of qualifiers but the Swiss sit on top of Group 10 with six points with Ireland in second on four points and a goal difference of plus four.
Confidence was high among Ireland having dispatched Armenia 4-0 in Fermoy on Wednesday and they were looking for maximum points out of their opening two games.
The game started as an even affair with Iceland’s game plan to hit Ireland on the counter attack. It would be 13 minutes in before the first clear-cut chance when Jaden Umeh raced down the right and tried to apply the finish however it was hooked off the line as Iceland lived dangerously.
Iceland could have taken the lead on the half-hour mark, Daniel Ingi Johannesson broke down the right wing before squaring it across the box, it fell to Tómas Johannesson who lacked composure and blazed it into The Shed.
The best chance of the half fell to Melia. Harry McGlinchey played through a ball that had Melia through on goal, his lobbed effort beat the keeper but could only find the roof of the net.
In the second half it was Ireland who had the first opportunity of significance, the pace of Umeh saw him leave his defender behind and he struck a low effort that was blocked by Jon Solvi Simonarson in the Icelandic goal.
Ireland had a strong shout for a penalty turned down with 15 minutes to go when Melia went through one-on-one and appeared to be taken out by the recovering Solvi Stefansson but the referee waved away the appeals.
Still the Young Boys in Green poured forward and in the final moments Melia engineered space for himself and hit a drive that beat Simonarson but cannoned off the bar and away.
Ireland return to Turner’s Cross where the two teams in the qualification spots go head-to-head in an afternoon kick-off.