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Ireland's young guns progress to U19 Euro Elite Round qualifiers with a game in hand

18-year-old Shelbourne star Alannah McEvoy was the goal-scoring hero for Dave Connell’s side.

The Ireland U19 team.
The Ireland U19 team.

IRELAND’S YOUNG GUNS have qualified for the Elite Round of the UEFA Women’s U19 European Championships with a game in hand.

Dave Connell’s side added a 3-0 win over Montenegro on Saturday afternoon to their 2-0 opener win against Ukraine, and subsequently march on.

18-year-old Shelbourne ace Alannah McEvoy was the goal-scoring hero in the Netherlands yesterday, her first-half brace and an own goal securing the three points — and ultimately progression in the tournament — for the Girls In Green.

Star striker McEvoy opened the scoring with just seven minutes on the clock after some brilliant work from Shels team-mate Emily Whelan in the build-up. Nine minutes later, she scored from the spot — it was a retaken penalty — after an incident which saw Montenegro reduced to 10 when Maja Miletić was sent off.

And Ireland were home and hosed with just 19 minutes played. The third goal was originally given to Bray native McEvoy, after she appeared to rattle the net directly from a free-kick, but Uefa later awarded an own goal.

mcevoy McEvoy starred up top (file pic). Source: FAIreland Twitter.

With players with some senior international experience in Whelan, Izzy Atkinson, Jessica Ziu and Eabha O’Mahony, that definitely stood to Ireland today.

Despite the fact that it was a “scrappy game,” Connell was delighted to fulfil the objective of qualifying for the Elite Round afterwards.

“We started the game well and were delighted to get the two early goals, but it was a bit of a scrappy game overall,” he said. “They had a player sent off with just 16 minutes gone and then put all 10 remaining players behind the ball. That’s always going to make it difficult to have a good game.

“But our aim was to qualify and we have done that now. I think we created 50 chances in the two games so far and while that is a positive, we need to work on finishing those chances now.

“I said before we came out that we were looking at three very different games, and that’s the way it has been. We’ll face our toughest test now on Tuesday against the Netherlands.”

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dave-connell Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The hosts are up next and with two wins each, that encounter [KO 6pm] will decide who tops Group 9 of the Qualifying Round.

Northern Ireland will also be in the 28-strong Elite Round draw on 21 November, with the games following in spring 2020. Seven teams will eventually join Georgia in the finals in July 2020.

Connell’s Ireland follow in the footsteps of the U17s, who qualified for their respective Euro Elite Round last month – also with a game in hand.

Republic of Ireland: Maria O’Sullivan, Zara Foley, Eabha O’Mahony, Roisin McGovern, Aoife Slattery (Kelsey Munroe 60), Sinead Donovan (Nadine Clare 60), Izzy Atkinson (Sophie Liston 72), Rebecca Cooke (Kayleigh Shine 60), Alannah McEvoy, Jessica Ziu, Emily Whelan.

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Emma Duffy

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