Cork City's U19 team have bowed out of the UEFA Youth League after a narrow defeat by AS Roma today,.
Keba Coly’s strike 15 minutes into the second-half ensured a narrow victory for the Italian Serie A side today, and ensured they progressed after winning 4-1 on aggregate.
The Rebel Army, who are the first Irish side to compete in the competition, could have salvaged a draw late on against a side who have only lost once in the Primavera league this season.
As it was, Denzil Fernandes hit the bar with a fantastic effort whilst the heroics of David Coffey kept the scoreline to 1-0.
After seeing his side compete with one of the very best youth teams in Europe, coach Stephen Bermingham said his Cork City Under-19s can "hold their heads high".
Bermingham said: "We’re so proud of the players today. We had plenty of chances in the game and if we had taken one of them, especially at 0-0, it could have been a different story.
"David Coffey has pulled off some great saves during the game also but in the end, there wasn’t too much between the two sides and we’re a bit disappointed not to draw this game.
"The players have really grown in this competition and you can see the belief in this side. Roma are one of the top sides in Europe and have only lost once this season and we pushed them all the way.
"We’re going out but this has been a remarkable experience for the players and proves what we’re doing at the club is working, developing that local talent."
Having progressed past HJK Helsinki in the first round of the UEFA Youth League, Bermingham believes the competition has shown how strong Irish youth sides actually are.
Bermingham said it had been an incredible experience for the staff and the players.
He said: "At the start of the season, it was only a possibility that we’d compete in this competition and it feels like we’ve come such a long way from that.
"The result in Helsinki and then to win in the first round was unbelievable and then to get over 3,000 at a youth game at Turner’s Cross was magnificent for the club, players and staff. A really special night.
"The Under-19s league in Ireland is only five years old so it shows how far we’ve come in a short amount of time and progression we’ve had. It has come a long way.
"It’s been a great competition for us, we’ve upped our standards and intensity over the last few weeks. The players have put in so much work, training five times a week and I’m sure this will be an experience we will never forget."
Cork City U19s: Coffey (GK), Phillips, O’Sullivan, McCarthy, Taylor (Manley 87), Coleman, Byrne, Ogbene, O’Riordan (Welch 85), Fernandes (Armshaw 85), Drinan.
Subs not used: Mylod (GK), O’Regan, O’Donovan, Leonard, Hurley, Crowley, Fitzgerald, Osinski.