Ireland’s poor record at reaching for the Under-17 European Championship finals continues after this season’s contingent were eliminated on Saturday with a game to spare.
Only once in the past dozen years has an Irish team featured at the showpiece, a pattern not helped by UEFA’s decision in 2003 to half the number of finalists to eight nations. `Victory in their second of three elite qualifiers was a must for John Morling’s side in Eindhoven but they failed to manage it despite leading at the break.
A missed penalty in their 1-0 defeat to Serbia on Thursday had denied Ireland a point from their opener but they had no such problems from the spot this time as Dylan Hayes converted on the half hour after he’d been fouled inside the area by Riechedly Bazoer.
While the Irish managed to contain the powerful Dutch in that opening half, it didn’t take long into the second period for their resistance to be breached.
Tonny Trindade de Vilhena, already in the first-team at Feyenoord, sprinted past two defenders three minutes after the restart and his low shot gave Irish goalkeeper Eric Grimes no chance.
On 55 minutes, the Dutch claimed the winning goal and again it was Trindade de Vilhena, part of the side which won the Under-17 title last season, who did the damage with another clinical finish.
Tomorrow’s concluding Group 5 ties see the Dutch face-off against joint-leader for a place in the finals in May while Ireland must not lose against Albania if they’re to avoid finishing bottom.
Meanwhile, the Ireland women’s Under-17 team had Michelle Farrell to thank for supplying the first-half goal in a 1-0 win over Poland in Saturday’s UEFA qualifier in Oslo.
Harry Kenny’s side were already out of the running for qualification having lost to France and hosts Norway in their previous games.
IRELAND: E. Grimes (Leeds United); S. Long (Cherry Orchard), K. McFadden (Norwich City), R. O’Reilly (Stoke City), B. Lewis (Aston Villa); D. Hayes (Derby County), T. Mulroney (Crumlin United), J. Leddy (Ipswich Town); S. Byrne (Manchester United), C. Wilkinson (Millwall), J. Grealish (Aston Villa).
Subs: S. Coyne (Cherry Orchard) for Lewis (63), D. McGlade (Middlesbrough) for Wilkinson (65), G. O’Neill (Wolves) for Hayes (74)
NETHERLANDS: Olij; Anderson, Bazoer, Ake, Hendrix; Acolatse, De Vilhena, Haye, Voest; Vloet, Marinus.
Subs: Lumu for Acolatse (53), Huser for Vloet (67), Van Den Boomen for De Vilhena (77).
REFEREE: D. Antamo (Finland).
IRELAND U17 Women: C. Brosnan (PDA Slammers); L. Dwyer (St. Joseph’s Carlow), M. Fitzpatrick (Atlanta Fire), C. O’ Connell (Cork League), G. Wright (Challenge FC); A. O’Connor (Wilton United), L. Boles (Castlebar Celtic), C. Mustaki (Peamount United); K. McCabe (Raheny United); C. Shine (Cork League), M. Farrell (Longford Town).
Subs: A. Barrett (Milford United) for Farrell (58), C. Healy (Peamount United) for McCabe (71), C. Johnson (Everton) for Boles (79).
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