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Irish U19s suffer setback against Czech Republic

Paul Doolin’s men now need a win against Romania on Tuesday to guarantee a semi-final spot.

Ireland's Kane McGovern holds his head at the end of the game.
Ireland's Kane McGovern holds his head at the end of the game.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

A THREE-MINUTE BLITZ denied Ireland a place in the semi-finals of the U19 European Championships as Paul Doolin’s men lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic in Romania.

The boys in green went into this evening’s game in Mogosoaia knowing that a win would guarantee them a spot in the final four. Instead, it was their opponents who took the initiative in Group A thanks to second-half strikes from Jakub Brabec and Patrik Lácha.

Ireland now need a win against hosts Romania in their final group game on Tuesday if they are to qualify for the knockout stages.

It was Doolin’s side who started the brightest, weathering a couple of early Czech attacks before John O’Sullivan gave them the lead in the 11th minute, redirecting Derrick Williams’ long-range effort into the corner of Tomáš Koubek’s net.

It would remain that way at the break thanks to the diligence of both keepers, Koubek preventing Anthony Forde and Sean Murray from doubling Ireland’s advantage.

Although Jaroslav Hřebík’s side grew into the game in the second period, they struggled to produce any clear-cut chances until the 70th minute, when Brabec rose highest to head home an inswinging free.

Two minutes later, they had stolen the lead as Lacha swerved a beautiful long-range strike which dipped just out of the reach of Irish keeper Aaron McCarey at the last moment.

Though Ireland pushed hard in the closing quarter, they never really threatened, leaving them to contemplate a win-or-bust tie against Romania on Tuesday.

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Niall Kelly

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