Poland now stand between Irish U17s and a place at Euro finals after superb Belarus win
AHEAD of Sunday's vital Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Poland, Ireland's U17 side will take on the Poles, in Poland, hoping to win a place in the European Championship finals.
Tom Mohan's side yesterday earned a 3-1 win over Belarus in the second game of the Elite round of qualification for the Euro finals, goals from Lucan United's Jamie Aherne (2) and Josh Barrett (Reading) earning the win.
The winners of the four-team group, held in Poland, will advance to the U17 finals in Bulgaria in May and a win against Poland on Thursday (5pm kick-off) will be enough for Ireland.
"Everybody worked so hard and kept to their roles really well," said boss Mohan after the win over Belarus.
"It's a step forward but the big thing to focus on is that nothing has been decided yet so we're preparing now for our final fixture against Poland.
"Our goalkeeper and back four were excellent, our midfielders did great in attack and defence and our front three were always a threat and scored three good goals.
"We were in control of the game but we conceded a very avoidable goal when 2-0 which gave them a boost when the game should have dead and buried. We played well afterwards and Jamie Aherne (pictured) wrapped it in brilliantly," added Mohan.
Brian Kerr's Irish side of course won the European title at this level - then an U16 tournament - back in 1998 but Ireland have not qualified for the finals since 2008.
That year Ireland, featuring players like Robbie Brady and Richie Towell, lost all three games at the finals, though their group opponents France and Spain went all the way to the final, Spain the eventual champions.