The Republic of Ireland have beaten Latvia 1-0 in their final group game in the Tournament of Gradisca but have been knocked out on goal difference.
Ireland needed a two goal win after Croatia had beaten Serbia & Montenegro earlier in the day and got off to the perfect start, going ahead after just three minutes.
Conor McCormack broke from midfield and was taken down just outside the area. Ian Daly stepped up to take the free and he drilled his shot low into the left bottom corner.
The Irish were totally dominant and almost doubled their lead in the 13th minute. Kurtis Byrne’s through ball found Daly, who rounded the keeper but saw his shot cleared off the line.Byrne headed wide from the resulting corner.
The Latvian keeper kept his team in the game with a save from a Byrne free kick. Just before the break a Shane O’Connor corner from the right was headed back towards goal by Paul Honohan but Byrne and Daly just missed getting the vital touch.
Ireland again attacked from the off in the second half and Byrne struck a shot from outside the area just wide with a minute gone.
Ireland were running out of time to grab the second crucial goal. With five minutes remaining, Byrne saw his header cleared from the line.
A minute later, Byrnes knock down found O’Connor, his shot was blocked on the line.
In injury time, the Republic almost had their deserved second but McCormack saw his header come back off the crossbar and Duggan reacted quickest but his shot was cleared from the line.
Croatia qualified as group winners with 6 points, Latvia, Serbia and Ireland all had 3 points, but Latvia qualify as they had a greater goals scored tally.
Republic of Ireland
Kieron Thorp (Charlton Athletic)
Mark Nolan (Shelbourne)
Gareth Matthews (Cherry Orchard)
Niall McArdle (Home Farm)
Paul Honohan Wilton United)
James O’Brien (Cherry Orchard)
Dean Marshall (Shelbourne) (Duggan 46min)
Conor McCormack (Bellurgan)
Ian Daly (Home Farm)
Kurtis Byrne (Cherry Orchard)
Shane O’Connor (Wilton United)
Michael Collins (Cherry Orchard)
Kevin Dawson (Belvedere)
Kevin O’Brien (Douglas Hall)
James Doyle (Home Farm)
Daniel Langan (Belvedere)
Craig Duggan (Kilreen Celtic)
David Joyce (Castlebar Celtic)