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Graeme Francey jubilant as his Irish starlets strike gold

By Staff Reporter

Ireland Under-18 coach Graeme Francey heaped praise on his young charges after they struck gold at the European Championships, sealed with a stunning 7-0 win over Poland in the final at Mori on the shores of Lake Garda.

The outcome means that the Irish youngsters will now be playing in the top-flight of the Euros in two years' time after being relegated in 2013.

Ireland, who had beaten the Poles 6-0 in the group stages, went one better with a devastating display which saw them complete the tournament with five wins out of five.

Ireland led 3-0 at the break with all of the goals coming from variations at penalty corners as Lena Tice, Randalstown's Zoe Wilson and Sally Campbell finished clinically.

Belfast Harlequins player Katie Larmour then set up Ellen Curran for number four and Wilson provided the assist as Ballymoney's Tori Hastings and Ards' Zara Malseed, with two, completed the scoring.

"What a fantastic way to win a final and to finish the tournament with 20 goals scored and only three against - that tells its own story," said Ulsterman Francey. "Despite being 3-0 up at half-time we demanded more because we didn't want the second-half to be a non-event."

Now it's the turn of the Ireland senior team as they bid to get back into the top-flight of the Euros in Prague.

Ireland, who have five Ulster players in the squad, start their campaign in the Czech capital on Saturday when they take on France before playing Ukraine and the host team.

Belfast Telegraph

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