Ireland seal quarter-final spot at U17s European Championships

Ireland seal quarter-final spot at U17s European Championships
Luke Kehir of Republic of Ireland celebrates with teammates Mason Melia, centre, and Daniel McGrath

Ireland booked their place in the Quarter Finals of the Under-17's European Championships with a brilliant victory over tournament hosts Hungary yesterday evening.

A brace of goals from Mason Melia and Luke Kehir earned a fine 4-2 victory in Felcsut, with a game of football that paid respect to the magnitude of this prestigious tournament.


Both sides served up an enthralling spectacle at the Pancho Aréna, with Ireland knowing that only a win would prolong their stay in the competition. The young boys in green embraced the challenge and took the lead in the fifth minute of play, with Kehir calmly placing the ball past Áron Yaakobishvili.

The hosts levelled shortly after through an unfortunate own goal when Jake Grante headed past his keeper.


The boys kept their composure and powered in front in the 24th minute. Melia rose highest to claim a corner and head home for his first goal of the tournament.


At the half-hour mark, Ireland lead 3-1. Ike Orazi got the better of his full-back, squaring for Melia to poke it over the line for his second of the game.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, the boys made it four amid wild scenes of jubilation. The excellent Kehir found the top corner with a perfectly crisp finish.

Hungary got their second with under 20 minutes to play through poor defending, but it proved nothing more than a consolation.

The final whistle was met with celebrations as Ireland won back-to-back games to finish second behind Poland in Group A.

Waterford FC's Romeo Akachukwu was supreme on the night and celebrated with his family in the crowd afterwards.

Ireland Men’s Under-17s Head Coach Colin O’Brien said: "It’s a great experience for the players. I thought it was a very mature performance from the team.

"Some of the performances at certain stages were excellent and we had to show resilience. The boys stayed calm under pressure when the game got away from us at times. It’s great to see that because it means they’re growing and they’re developing.

"We’re the youngest squad here. I’m so proud of them because they’re a great bunch of lads, brilliant personalities, great values and the quality is there as well."

Spain waits in the Quarter Finals, with the game scheduled for Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium, Budapest on Saturday.

Kickoff is at 7:00 pm Irish time and will be broadcasted live on RTÉ.

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