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Republic of Ireland suffer European Under-21 Championship qualification blow

Published 13/11/2015

Conor Wilkinson scored but it was a tough night for Republic of Ireland Under-21s
Conor Wilkinson scored but it was a tough night for Republic of Ireland Under-21s

The Republic of Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the 2017 European Under-21 Championship hang in the balance after a 3-1 defeat by Lithuania in Vilnius on Friday night.

Ireland won their first three qualifiers but lost in Italy last month and must now pick themselves up following a shock result against Group 2's bottom side, who had previously failed to register a point.

The Republic fell behind in the 22nd minute when Lukas Spalvis met Vykintas Slivka's left-wing cross with a powerful header which flew over Daniel Rogers and into the net.

Conor Wilkinson had already hit the crossbar when he equalised after 44 minutes with a well-hit drive across the goalkeeper, only to see Simonas Stankevicius restore Lithuania's lead a minute later from the edge of the box.

Lithuania wrapped up the three points 18 minutes from time courtesy of Donatas Kazlauskas' low strike after being played in by Stankevicius.

A miserable night for Noel King's side, who lost Glen Rea to injury just before kick-off and saw Jack Connors limp off early on, was complete when Sean Kavanagh was sent off in the closing stages.

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