No joy for Irish boys as defeat spells end
Tom Mohan's young Boys in Green could have no complaints as a wonder-strike from Marcus Edwards ended their journey at the UEFA Under-17 Championships in Bulgaria.
Slick England, the reigning champions, were worthy winners at the Beroe Stadium in Stara Zagora They deservedly topped Group D to advance to the quarter-finals.
Ireland once again failed to make anything of the chances they created to prop up the group with just one point and no goals to show for their dogged efforts.
Tottenham striker Edwards' 71st minute goal was worthy of winning any match.
Skilfully making room on the edge of the area, Edwards sent a rising shot past Caoimhin Kelleher and into the roof of the Ireland net.
"It was disappointing as we had some very good chances," said Ireland boss Mohan.
"We needed that first goal against such good quality opposition. The attacking players England have are fantastic.
"You saw the goal that young Marcus Edwards scored, absolutely fantastic. We did very well to prevent other goals at other stages.
"It's been the story of our campaign, that when we did create chances we just weren't clinical enough."
England had the better of the first half, with 13 attempts on goal to Ireland's one.
Ireland's one chance came when Connor Ronan hounded Jay Dasilva off the ball to set up Josh Barrett who drilled wide across goal with no green shirt there.
Ireland showed far more purpose on the resumption, blowing their best chance of the game three minutes in.
England keeper Paul Woolston could only parry substitute Anthony Scully's fierce drive. JJ Lunney looked set to score but his weak lob was cleared by Danny Collinge.
Another bright opening for Ireland on 62 minute saw Barrett set up Zack Ebouzedi who drilled his shot wide.
Republic of Ireland: Kelleher (Ringmahon Rangers); O'Keeffe (Birmingham), Masterson (Liverpool), Leahy (Coventry), McCourt (West Brom); Agyei-Tabi (Arsenal), Livingston (Wolves); Wade-Slater (St. Kevin's), Ronan (Wolves), Lunney (Preston); Barrett (Reading). Subs: Scully (West Ham) for Wade-Slater (34 mins.), Ebouzedi (West Brom) for Livingston (58 mins.), Aherne (Lucan United) for Barrett (75 mins.).