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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Great few days for Irish underage football as Women's U17s qualify for Euro finals

The men’s team did likewise on Friday.

Image: Nebojsa Parausic

THE IRELAND U17 women qualified for the Uefa Women’s European Championships following a 1-0 win over Hungary in Gradski Zemum, Belgrade earlier today.

A goal from Heather Payne after 13 minutes handed her side a deserved victory. The Peamount United player gave Ireland a lead that they seldom looked like surrendering with a spectacular free kick from distance in the game’s early stages.

The victory means Dave Bell’s side progressed from their three Elite Round games unbeaten on seven points, after previously drawing against Scotland and beating Serbia. In total, they have won five and drawn one of their qualifiers, scoring 14 and conceding only one goal while topping both their groups.

“It is a fantastic achievement,” said Bell after the match. “The girls worked so hard and the dedication that they gave to these qualifiers is testament to their attitude and also their quality.

To qualify as group winners makes it even more enjoyable. We had to work hard to get the win because Hungary gave us a good game and I have to give credit to them because they are a very good side.

“We have had so many players step up in this qualifying campaign, but I can’t praise our captain, Tiegan Ruddy, enough and also Sadhbh Doyle and Heather Payne. Those three girls guided the younger girls through and they were a big help to me.

The new Senior Women’s Head Coach, Colin Bell, was here watching the girls and I think he was impressed with their play. Now, I’m hoping that they can go to the tournament and show Europe what they can do.

“I believe this is a special group of players and they fully deserve to have made it through to the finals tournament.”

The Euros will take place in Czech Republic between 2 and 14 May, while the draw for the competition is on 7 April.

The achievement caps a fantastic week for Irish underage football, after the men’s U17 team qualified for the European Championship Finals yesterday.

Republic of Ireland: Turner; Grier, Ruddy, Doyle; Fahey (Spillane 53), McGovern, Toland, Mackey; Payne, McManus, McEvoy.

Hungary: Terestyenyi; Csolti, Fordos, Kovacs, Nagy; Pulins, Vachter (Dorner 73), Tolnai (Kovacs 52); Pintye, Nagy (Pusztai 51), Czeller.

Referee: Vera Opeykina (Russia).

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Paul Fennessy

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