Republic of Ireland 4 Israel 2
THERE was heartbreak for Israel at Turner’s Cross yesterday as Colin O’Brien’s Republic of Ireland U17 side finished the first phase of European Championship qualifying with a 100 percent record.
With Ireland leading 4-1 and the game nearly over, a consolation goal from Israel’s Dor David Turgeman looked to have done enough to send them through to the second phase as runners-up to Ireland. However, at St Colman’s Park in Cobh, Montenegro struck for a 2-0 victory over Andorra, eliminating Israel on goal difference.
Having already been assured of progression to the second stage with wins over the other two sides, Ireland didn’t need to win and Israel threatened early as Gavin O’Brien had to defend well as Ebrahem Bader looked to meet a Bar Nuhi cross, thereafter Ireland – with Cork City’s Oran Crowe starting in midfield – were on top.
Oliver O’Brien put them ahead in the 17th minute, taking a pass up the line for Omotayo Adaramola and cutting in from the left before sending a low shot to the net. That settled Ireland and, while chances were hard to come by for the remainder of the half, the lead was doubled in injury time as Anselmo Garcia McNulty headed home a Ben McCormack corner. That was the first of three assists for McCormack, whose 50th-minute free kick was met by Sinclair Armstrong to make it 3-0. While Israel’s Ellay Yacob Shafiki did pull a goal back on 52, Ireland didn’t allow hopes of a comeback to germinate.
Just after the hour, McCormack – who had just been denied by a super Dnir Nir save – set Evan Ferguson away and he slotted home to make it 4-1. Ferguson could have had a second, shooting just wide, while sub Calum Kavanagh had a shot stopped on the line.
While Israel looked to be heading out as a result of Montenegro taking the lead against Andorra, Turgeman’s 87th-minute goal seemed priceless for them, but they were denied at the death.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Rose (Everton); O’Brien (Bohemians), Hand (Shamrock Rovers), Garcia McNulty (Wolfsburg), Adaramola (Crystal Palace); Conroy (Bohemians), Crowe (Cork City); Armstrong (Shamrock Rovers), McCormack (St Patrick’s Athletic), O’Neill (Fulham); Ferguson (Bohemians).
Subs: Mahon (Bohemians) for Armstrong (68), Moran (Bray Wanderers) for McCormack, Lawal (Watford) for Conroy (both 76), Barlow (Sligo Rovers) for O’Neill, C Kavanagh (Middlesbrough) for Ferguson (both 83)
ISRAEL: Nir; Shafiki, Soboh, Belson; Nuhi, Madmoun, Turgeman, Ushmandi, Cohen; Arie, Bader.
Subs: Eliyahu for Arie (53), Kodman for Cohen (74), Senior for Bader (90).
Referee: M Zebec (Croatia).