THE IRISH U19 side remain on course for more European success after they got the win they needed against Russia to advance to the next stage of qualification for next summer's finals in Estonia.
A win over host nation Bulgaria in the opening match of their three-team qualifying group was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that left Ireland needing a win against Russia in their final game yesterday to advance. Paul Doolin's men managed to come out on top 3-1, so they go on to the elite stage of qualification with the ultimate prize -- a place in the 2012 finals -- still in sight for the side which reached the semi-finals of the tournament earlier this year.
They did it the hard way as Alisher Dzhalilov's 22nd-minute strike put Russia ahead at the break.
Belfast boy Paul George (Celtic) got Ireland level on 62 minutes from a George Smith ball, and two minutes later the Celtic man set up Smith to make it 2-1.
Wolves prospect Anthony Forde -- who played in this year's finals in Romania -- completed the win with a well-taken goal.
Republic of Ireland U-19: McDermott (Arsenal); Barker (Bohemians), Byrne (Notts Forest), Hoban (Watford), McHugh (Dundalk); G. Smith (Southend United), O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers), Garmston (West Brom); Murray (Watford), Burke (Aston Villa), Forde (Wolves). Subs: George (Celtic) for Burke (50 mins), Morrissey (Trieste) for Barker (88 mins)