Success for Ireland's under-19s as they top their Women's Euro qualifying group

Three matches, 14 goals and none conceded

BY Raf Diallo 16:27 Sunday 23 October 2016, 16:27 23 Oct 2016

Ireland’s Saoirse Noonan ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland Women's Under 19s have topped their qualifying round group in the UEFA European Championships after beating Italy 2-0 on Sunday.

That victory was their third in a row, having kicked off the campaign with a 10-0 thrashing of Macedonia.

Following on from that win and a second one over Wales, Dave Connell's team finish the first stage of qualifying for the 2017 finals as Group 2 winners.

Saoirse Noonan opened the scoring on 33 minutes.

Chloe Moloney made it 2-0 on 58 minutes after good work by Niamh Prior.

Overall, the Irish team have scored 14 goals without reply across their three games.

They now advance to the Elite Round stage of qualifying.

Speaking after the victory over Italy, head coach Connell said: "We needed to beat Italy to top the group and we did it in style. We played really well as a team against a very good Italian side and it was a real team performance that got us through.

"I've been fortunate to work with some great teams through the years and this team can potentially go all the way. Now, we won't get too carried away, but we are certainly going in the right direction.

"We set targets individually and as a team, which included getting nine points, not conceding a goal, and topping the group - and we achieved that. I'm delighted for the players and also the staff, who work incredibly hard.

"The most pleasing thing, though, was how the players managed the games and how they were able to shut out games. It was a really professional approach from the players and they came to the fore in these three games. We now look forward to the Elite Round next year."

Ireland were semi-finalists in the 2014 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship tournament, having topped their group with three wins from three before a 4-0 loss to eventual champions Netherlands in the last-four.

Connell also coached the team in that 2014 tournament.


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