Colin O’Brien’s Republic of Ireland U17 side maintain their perfect record as they rounded off the first phase of qualifying for the European Championship with victory over Israel at Turner’s Cross yesterday.
A late goal from Israel’s Dor David Turgeman would have ensured qualification for Israel however, Montenegro, leading 1-0, conjured a late strike of their own to advance.
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 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, Dor David 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).