Defeat for Ireland in European U17 Championships opener

Republic of Ireland 0-2 Belgium

The Republic of Ireland Under 17’s got their European Under 17 Championship campaign off to a disappointing start as they went down 2-0 to Belgium at Loughborough University Stadium this evening.

Goals in either half from Sekou Sidibe and Yorbe Vertessen ensured a clinical Belgian side claimed all three points.

Ireland opened the brighter but fell behind in the 34th minute when Sidibe slotted home the rebound after Nicolas Raskin’s initial effort came back off the crossbar.

Adam Idah called Nick Shinton into action in the Belgian goal on a number of occasions in the second period. The Ireland forward was denied in the 52nd minute when he got on the end of a long ball from Max Murphy.

Idah was frustrated again by Shinton eight minutes later as the Belgian keeper tipped the Corkman’s effort around the post. From the resulting corner Nathan Collins headed inches wide as Ireland continued to push for an opening.

Disaster was to strike though for Colin O’Brien’s side with 12 minutes remaining when Yorbe Vertessen was quickest to a rebound to put the Belgians two goals ahead.

Next up for Ireland is a crucial clash with Denmark on Tuesday in St George’s Park.

Republic of Ireland: Corcoran; Murphy, Ledwidge, McEntee, Collins ©; Knight, Coffey, Brennan (Thompson 61); Idah, Parrott, Wright.

Belgium: Shinton; Persyn, Lissens, Vandermeulen, Dendoncker; Raskin ©, Mvom Onana, Suray (Timassi 66); Vertessen, Yayi Mpie (Doku 66), Sidibe.

Referee: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (ISL)

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