Ireland Womens U19s qualify for UEFA finals

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Updated: April 11, 2014
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THE Republic of Ireland Women’s U19 side have qualified for the UEFA WU19 Championships elite qualifying round after beating Turkey in the Dutch town of Harderwijk on Thursday.

 

Although host country Holland pipped Dave Connell’s youngsters to top spot on goal difference due to a 4-1 victory over Austria in the other group game, Ireland will go to the finals in Norway as the best runners-up.

 

Connell’s side won the game thanks to a brilliant individual goal by Castlebar Celtic’s Sarah Rowe in the 36thminute.

 

Rowe capitalised on a clever pass by Keeva Keenan then turned her marker inside out before unleashing a strike across keeper Büşra Öztürk that went in at the far corner.

 

Ireland will now await for the draw for the finals with hosts Norway, Netherlands, England, Spain, Scotland, Sweden and Belgium.

 

“It’s a really great achievement by all the players and the staff,” said a delighted Connell.

 

“It was not the prettiest performance ever but thanks to a combination of results in the other groups we knew beforehand that a victory would give us best runners-up and that’s what we achieved.

 

“It’s been a very good campaign for us. We picked up a few serious injuries over the season and we’ll be thinking of those players who weren’t with us this week. It’s been a great effort including the girls that played in the first qualifying stage in September.

 

“I’d like to pay tribute to the staff as well as they’ve put in a tremendous effort.”

 

Connell’s side missed out on the final day last season and he was delighted that they went one better this year and will dine at the top table this July.

 

“We kind of knew this year it could be the year we get over the final hurdle and they believed we could do it. They got a bit of bad luck last year,” he said.

 

“Last year it was a different scenario – we should have qualified. We were by far the better side against Sweden but we blew it.”

 

The Irish defence has been outstanding in the Netherlands with three clean sheets and they finished level on seven points with the Dutch.

 

“We haven’t scored a lot but we know we’re a hard team to beat. We got a wonderful goal from Sarah Rowe. It was a very good finish and it was enough for us. Savannah McCarthy had two cleared off the line from corner kicks. We could have got a second or third but Turkey were decent.”

 

Connell can’t wait for the finals to come around where his side can compare themselves against the best sides in Europe.

 

“The girls have been great. I hope we’ll have a few back from injuries. We went into the La Manga tournament as the last seed and did very well,” he added.

 

“We’ll fear nobody, France and Germany are out – two huge nations – and we are there.”

 

TURKEY: Büşra Öztürk, Medine Erkan (Aylin Dişli 81), Kübra Berber, Yaşam Göksu (C), Ümran Özev, Esra Özkan (Selin Dişli 46), Serra Çağan, Ebru Topçu, Remziye Bakır, Bahar Güvenç (Selin Sivrikaya 46), Semanur Akbaş.

 

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Courtney Brosnan, Keeva Keenan, Savannah McCarthy, Chloe Mustaki (C), Ciara O’Connell, Sarah Rowe, Grace Wright, Megan Connolly, Lauren Dwyer, Amy O’Connor, Clare Shine.

 

RESULTS

Saturday, April 5

UEFA Women’s U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5

Austria  0 Republic of Ireland 1, Sportpark DVS ’33 Ermelo, Ermelo (NED)

 

Monday, April 7

UEFA Women’s U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5

Netherlands 0 Republic of Ireland 0, Sportpark DVS ’33 Ermelo, Ermelo (NED)

 

Thursday, April 10

UEFA Women’s U19 Elite Qualifying Round Group 5

Turkey 0 Republic of Ireland 1, De Strokel, Harderwijk (NED)

 

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