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Brilliant Ireland youngsters qualify as top seeds for Euros with 100% win record

Colin O’Brien’s side completed an outstanding campaign this afternoon with a 1-0 victory in Poland.

IT HAD ALREADY been a successful qualification campaign for the Republic of Ireland U17 team, but they rounded it off in style this afternoon in Legnica, Poland.

Facing a Polish side who needed a result to keep alive their own hopes of reaching the European Championship in England in May, Ireland secured a 1-0 win thanks to a second-half penalty from Troy Parrott of Tottenham Hotspur.

Ireland’s place in the finals had already been guaranteed since they recorded a 2-0 win over Georgia on Saturday. However, today’s result has ensured that Colin O’Brien’s side will go into the draw — which takes place on 5 April — as one of the top seeds in the 16-team tournament.

They won all six of their games — the only team to do so — in the qualifying campaign, keeping five clean sheets and scoring a total of 18 goals along the way.

It began last October with victories over Azerbaijan (6-0), Bulgaria (3-0) and Ukraine (3-1). Those results sent Ireland through to the Elite round, where they overcame Macedonia (3-0), Georgia (2-0) and Poland (1-0).

“It’s been a fantastic campaign,” Colin O’Brien told the FAI website. “There was a lot of tension today with Poland looking to qualify too. The crowd were trying to get behind their team from the off.

“People in the squad are playing for places for the European Championship now. We made changes today and those players impressed. It’s all about making the squad stronger ahead of the finals.

“The players can enjoy the next few days, but then the focus starts on the finals. It’s a great day today for youth football in Ireland.”

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