IRELAND’S U21 side suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to Switzerland in a UEFA Championships qualifier they could have won in Lugano.
Boosted by last month’s 5-0 win over Estonia in Dublin, the Irish U21s, coached by FAI performance director Wim Koevermans, produced an impressive first-half display.
But they failed to take the several chances that fell their way and paid the price when Fabien Frei curled the game’s only goal in the 47th minute.
Ireland last won a competitive away game at this level in August 2006 and had hoped to correct that statistic.
Anthony Stokes had a shot pushed wide by keeper Yann Sommer in the seventh minute.
Sommer was called into action again less than a minute later when he kept out a strike by Alan Judge after a clever pass by debut boy Robert Brady.
The Swiss could have gone in front in the 18th minute when the ball dropped to Timm Klose after a goalmouth scramble but Irish keeper Stephen Henderson made a brave stop.
Senior international defender Eddie Nolan was left unmarked from an Alan Judge corner in the 36th minute but he headed wide at the back post.
Stokes had another chance four minutes into the second half but he fired straight at Sommer after being set-up by Conor Hourihane.
After Frei broke the deadlock, Judge had a chance to level in the 58th minute after more good work by Brady but he shot over.
Stephen Henderson made another impressive stop to keep out a deflected free kick by Sebastian Wuthrich in the 72nd minute.
As the seconds ticked away the Irish became more desperate with their shooting and Hourihane and Brady both fired over from long range as the Swiss held on to secure their play-off qualification.
SWITZERLAND: Sommer; Baradi, Daprela, Koch, Klose, Abrashi (Pavlovic 46), Wuthrich, Kasami, Ban Khalifa (Mustafi 72), Frei, Zuber (Xhaka 81).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Henderson; Coleman, Kiernan, Nolan, Gunning, Judge, Clifford (Mason 81), Hourihane, Towell, Brady, Stokes (Rooney 76).
Referee: S Karasev (Russia).