Saoirse Noonan Republic of Ireland Under-17s

Republic of Ireland Women’s U17s win group in Serbia. Serbia 1 Republic of Ireland 1

The Republic of Ireland won their UEFA European Women’s U17 Championship Qualifying Round Group after a 1-1 draw with hosts Serbia in Subotica today.

Having already qualified for the Elite Phase following wins over Lithuania and Romania, Dave Connell’s side secured with ease the point they required to win the group.

Derbhaile Byrne fired them into the lead after 33 minutes when Courtney Higgins released Sarah McKeviitt down the right and she whipped in a low cross which was turned home by Byrne.

After being tested very little in the first two games, Ireland goalkeeper Amanda McQuillan found herself much busier and made a string of good saves to keep the Serbians at bay but she was left helpless in the 54th minute when substitute Marija Kovačević, with virtually her first touch of the ball, took advantage of hesitancy to nip in and equalise.

Both sides had chances after that to win the game but in the end the draw suited both teams with Irish topping the group and the Serbs securing the runners-up position and the second qualifying spot.

“The conditions today were awful and the game was in doubt right up until the kick-off because of the heavy rain we had,” said Connell. “We could have been out of sight by half-time had we taken the chances we created but we scored a good goal and we a little unlucky with the one we conceded.

“It’s never easy to come to Serbia so to win the group is special especially as three of the teams here were in the Elite Phase last year and Lithuania are pretty good also. The girls have worked very hard this week and fully deserved to win the group. We can now look forward to the draw in November and take it from there.”

Skipper Jamie Finn sat out today’s came with Evelyn Daly taking over the captain’s armband and Niamh Farrelly moving from midfield to partner Chloe Moloney in the heart of the Irish defence while Saoirse Noonan returned after missing the Romania game through injury.

Serbia: Tanja Djapić (GK), Milana Golubović (Marija Pavlović 80), Isidora Vučković (Marija Kovačević 52), Tijana Djuriček (C), Marina Bradić, Viktorija Mišeljić, Allegra Poljak, Aleksandra Marković, Tijana Filipović, Sanja Ivošević, Teodora Burkert.

Republic of Ireland: Amanda McQuillan (GK) Lauryn O’Callaghan, Niamh Farrelly, Chloe Moloney, Niamh Prior (Lucy McCartan 73); Evelyn Daly (C), Courtney Higgins, Saoirse Noonan; Sarah McKevitt, Danielle Murray (Eleanor Doyle 62), Dearbhaile Beirne (Fiona Donnolly 52).

Referee: Virginie Derouaux (Belguim)

UEFA WU17 Championships Qualifying Round Group 4

RESULTS

Friday, October 17: Republic of Ireland 2 Lithuania 0, Serbia 1 Romania 1

Sunday, October 19: Republic of Ireland 2 Romania 0, Lithuania 1 Serbia 4

Wednesday, October 22: Romania 3 Lithuania 3, Serbia 1 Republic of Ireland 1

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