Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Republic start with narrow win

Dylan Connolly's lone strike was enough to ensure a winning start to the Republic of Ireland's European Under-21s Championship qualifying campaign.

The Ipswich winger struck 14 minutes before the break at Waterford RSC in front of senior boss Martin O'Neill to hand Noel King's youngsters the three points they had targeted to ensure their efforts to make it out of Group 2 began in positive fashion.

Ireland dominated throughout but were repeatedly thwarted by Andorra keeper Victor Silverio Pinto, who made a string of saves to keep the visitors in contention until the final whistle.

But ultimately, it was Connolly's 31st-minute effort which won the day as the keeper could only parry striker Conor Wilkinson's shot and Kenny McEvoy set him up to score.

The visitors thought they had levelled with nine minutes remaining when Aaron Sanchez Alburquerque headed past keeper Danny Rogers, but an offside flag ended his celebrations.

Pinto denied Callum O'Dowda and substitute Sean Maguire as time ran down to keep his side in the hunt, but all to no avail.

The Republic, however, will face sterner tests as they attempt to emerge from a group which also includes Italy, Serbia, Slovenia and Lithuania if they are to make it to Poland.

King's side will travel to Andorra in September for the return fixture before back-to-back clashes with Lithuania and Italy in October.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph