Back-to-back wins seal Ireland quarter-final place at U17 Euros

Back-to-back wins seal Ireland quarter-final place at U17 Euros


HUNGARY…2 (Jake Grante OG 10, Martin Kern 71) IRELAND…4 (Luke Kehir 5, 61, Mason Melia 24, 31)

Two goals apiece by Luke Kehir and Mason Melia sealed the win Ireland needed over tournament hosts Hungary to set up a quarter-final clash, likely against Spain, on Saturday.

Poland’s 5-1 pummelling of Colin O’Brien’s side last Wednesday was a stark introduction to the U17 finals but their responses, 3-0 against Wales and this stroll over the Hungarians, cemented second spot in the group behind group victors the Poles.

Ireland must await the outcome of Wednesday’s final Group B games to discover their opposition in the knockout stages but Spain lead Slovenia in the pursuit of top spot.

As was the case in their first two matches, there was a lively start at Puskás Akadémia Pancho Aréna in Felcsút. 

Luke Kehir displayed neat footwork inside the box after just five minutes to arrow his shot home from close-range for the opener.

Stung by that concession, Hungary hit back five later but only through a slice of good fortune. Ireland’s defence looked set up to deal with a free-kick whipped into the box but Crystal Palace defender Jake Grante got himself into a flap and sent his clearance past helpless goalkeeper Jason Healy.

That would be the last threat posed by the hosts for a significant period, for Ireland dominated to the extent that their passage was all but secured by the interval.

A seven-minute brace by 15-year-old Melia did the trick, firstly flinging himself at Ike Orazi’s corner to head home and a same pair combining for the striker to prod in from six yards.

The best of Ireland’s goals was left to last just past the hour as Melia rolled the ball across the 18-yard line to the awaiting Kehir who unleashed a rising right-footer into the top corner.

TOP BINS: Ireland’s Luke Kehir celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Pic: ©INPHO/Nikola Kristic

Hungary had no response to the Irish onslaught, leaving it too late to reduce the arrea

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