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Ireland beat Bulgaria to advance in U19 European Championship qualifiers

Tom Mohan paid tribute to his players after they progressed to the elite qualifying phase.

The Ireland starting line-up pictured before this afternoon's victory in Albena, Bulgaria.
The Ireland starting line-up pictured before this afternoon's victory in Albena, Bulgaria.
Image: FAI

IRELAND MOVED A step closer this afternoon to securing a place at next summer’s U19 European Championship in Slovakia.

In their final game of the preliminary qualifying round, Tom Mohan’s side recorded a 2-0 victory over hosts Bulgaria.

Sligo Rovers striker Johnny Kenny scored for the third consecutive game to give the visitors a first-half lead from the penalty spot, before Lincoln City defender Sean Roughan struck late on to seal the win.

Captained by Wolfsburg defender Anselmo Garcia MacNulty, Ireland subsequently advance from Group 6 alongside Bosnia & Herzegovina, with whom they played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Ireland will now be one of the 28 nations in the draw for the elite phase of qualifying, which is scheduled for next spring. The teams will be split into seven groups of four, with the winner of each group qualifying for the tournament proper.

“I’m delighted for the players and staff,” said head coach Mohan, whose side began their qualifying campaign by recording a 3-2 win against Montenegro last Wednesday.

“They have worked incredibly hard and they deserve to qualify. The logistics to get here were difficult and we were up against tough opposition over the three games.

“I’m so happy to qualify for the elite round. A lot of these players missed the elite round at the U17 age group so to get the job done and go into the next phase of qualification next year is all down to the brilliant work of the players and staff.” 

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Bulgaria: Slavkov; Pemperski, Georgiev (Bornosuzov HT), Hristov, Boev; Tsonchev, Dyulgerov, Stoichkov (Petrov 87), Dobrev (Trenchev 87); Marinov (Iliev 46), Sorakov.

Ireland: Doherty (Leicester City); Abankwah (St Patrick’s Athletic), Okagbue (Stoke City), Garcia MacNulty (Wolfsburg), Roughan (Lincoln City); Henry-Francis (Arsenal), McJannet (Luton Town); Kenny (Sligo Rovers), Emakhu (Shamrock Rovers), Hayes (Fleetwood Town, on loan at FC United of Manchester), Armstrong (QPR, on loan at Torquay United). Subs: Moran (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Emakhu (HT), Caffrey (UCD) for Hayes (HT), Zefi (Inter Milan) for Kenny (75), Curtis (St Patrick’s Athletic) for Abankwah (85), Corbally (St Patrick’s Athletic) for Henry-Francis (90).

Referee: Denys Shurman (Ukraine).

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Paul Dollery

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