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Republic of Ireland boss upbeat about future despite semi-final defeat

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

07:51 24 Jul 2019

The Republic of Ireland were beaten on a convincing 4-0 scoreline by Portugal in their UEFA European under-19 Championship semi-final in Yerevan on Wednesday afternoon but the score doesn't tell the full tale.

After Vitor Ferreira opened the scoring from the spot on the half-hour mark, Barry Coffey had a shot cleared off the line before Mark McGuinness' follow-up effort rattled the crossbar.

There was a sucker punch in first-half injury time when Gonçalo Ramos headed home after a goalkeeping error and after the break, the Benfica striker completed a hat-trick as the Irish players withered in the mid-30 degree heat.

"That's football isn't it, " said Mohan with a rueful smile after the game. "We hit the bar at one end and the ball rolls across the bar at the other end and the centre forward sticks his head on it and that's the difference.

"It's the difference between being one-all at half-time and two-nil down.

"We said to the boys at half-time; 'we have 45 minutes to go, we'll give it everything we have, we'll get after them, we'll try and create things  '.

"Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be but right up until the final whistle every player kept going and that's a great spirit."

Republic of Ireland boss looks at 'bigger picture'

The Irish boss was happy with how they opened the game but admits that the performance wasn't error-free.

"We contained them very well," added Mohan. " We sat in for the first 15 minutes and then we had a go, we went after them at periods.

"I just thought we were punished, our mistakes were punished by high-quality players and that's what happens when you make mistakes you get punished but we've got to learn from it."

Despite the disappointing defeat, Mohan was keen to highlight the positive experiences that the players will take from playing at such a prestigious tournament.

"The boys have been fantastic," said Mohan. We win together, we draw together, we lose together but the most important thing is the bigger picture for Irish football.

"These boys have experienced a European finals, some of them this has been the third finals they've been in, two under-17s finals-in-a-row there as well. Some lads have played under -17s this year.

"There's a lot of positives to be taken out of it. At the minute it's sore, there's no doubt, but we've got to look at the bigger picture.

"We've got to look at the future. I feel the future is bright for Irish football. There's great work going on [at] grassroots and national league level and our international teams so we've got to build on it."

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Republic Of Ireland Tom Mohan UEFA European Under-19 Championship

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