28.05.2010 at 19:00 Borex, Borodinka
0 - 1
Rep of Ireland Under 19
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (ESP)
European Qualifier Elite Stage-match
Ihor Chaykovskiy, (c)
Sean Mc Ginty
Shane Mc Eleney
Ukraine 0 Rep of Irealnd 1
Sean McCaffrey's Republic of Ireland U19 side today defeated reigning European Champions, Ukraine 1-0 to keep their hopes of qualifying for this summer's UEFA Championship finals in France firmly alive.
The winning strike came in the 60th minute when Conor Clifford coolly converted a penalty-kick which was after Manchester United's Robbie Brady was dubiously dismissed when he received his second yellow card after 47 minutes following an alleged verbal altercation with Ukraine's Vasyl Pryyma.
In what was a bruising encounter, Ukraine had the first attempt of the match after ten minutes when Levgen Pavlov screwed his ambitious shot to the right of Ger Hanley's post from over 20 yards. At the other end of the field, Arsenal's Conor Henderson went close when his left footed shot outside the box went to the left and wide.
Manchester United's Robbie Brady had a baptism of fire into the game with constant antagonizing from Ukraine fullback, Temur Partsvaniia which eventually led to the Manchester United being harshly booked for a late tackle on the right-back. Brady almost scored with an audacious effort after 27 minutes when striker, Karl Sheppard fed the ball to Brady on the left, but his shot from outside the box went inches to the left and into the side netting.
(Pictured above - Irish goalkeeper, Ger Hanley)
The ever-imposing Conor Henderson tested Ukrainian goalkeeper, Igor Levchenko in the 32nd minute when he collected a throw-in from Sean McGinty and his powerful, left footed shot was palmed away for a corner much to the relief of Ukraine's defence.
Ukraine almost grabbed the opening goal of the game in the dying moments of the first half when Volodymyr Koval whipped in a pin-point cross to Pavlov at the edge of the six yard box but his diving header went inches wide of Ger Hanley's post.
The second-half started in chaos as Robbie Brady was dubiously sent off for a verbal altercation with Ukraine's Vasyl Pryyma. Referee, David Borbalan from Spain issued both players the yellow card and finally showed Brady the red card to leave Ireland play the majority of the second half with just ten men.
The Irish responded superbly to the sending-off which ultimately left them a mountain to climb if they were to topple the reigning European Champions and keep their hopes of qualification alive. Irish striker, Karl Sheppard was in inspiring form as he battled with Ukraine's defence to try to force an opening.
Ireland were given a life-line on the hour mark when Conor Clifford collected a loose ball in Ukraine's box following a long Richie Towell throw, his powerful shot was blocked by the trailing arm of a Ukrainian defender and the referee made no hesitation in awarding the penalty. Clifford gave Ireland the lead with an audacious finish from the spot, he sent the keeper to the right as he calmly chipped the ball down the middle of the goal.
Ger Hanley came to Ireland's rescue in the 67th minute when a cross was whipped in by Bogdan Butko and his teammate, Chaikovsky'i powered his header goal-bound from 6 yards but the Galway goalkeeper produced an unbelievable save from point-blank range to deny the midfielder.
Ireland continued to threaten their Ukrainian opponents as they went in search of a second goal and that almost came in the 78th minute when Conor Henderson whipped in a free-kick from the left and Wolves defender, John Dunleavy was on-hand from 6 yards to head towards goal but his effort was blocked on the line and the ensuing goal-mouth scramble was eventually cleared by the Ukrainians.
Ukraine piled on the pressure in the final minutes of the game and they missed a guilt-edged opportunity to score when Pavlov controlled a high ball in the box but his volley from eight yards was stunningly saved by Ger Hanley to avert the danger.
The Irish team retained their composure in the final minutes of the game as Ukraine poured forward in numbers in the Irish box. The Irish back four of McGinty, Towell, Dunleavy and McEleney were immense in shutting out the Ukrainian attack as goalkeeper, Ger Hanley produced one of his most vital performances in his Republic of Ireland career to date with a number of remarkable saves.
In today's other game, England shrugged off the challenge of Bosnia & Herzegovina in a 4-0 victory which sends them top of the table with six points from two games. That result means that Ireland must now rely on Ukraine to defeat England by a single goal in the final game and they themselves must defeat Bosnia & Herzegovina by more than four goals to secure their passage to the UEFA Championship finals in France this summer.
Republic of Ireland: Ger Hanley, Richard Towell, John Dunleavy, Sean McGinty, Shane McEleney, Conor Hourihane, Conor Clifford, James Keohane, Conor Henderson, Robert Brady, Karl Sheppard.
Substitutes: Ian McLoughlin, Ronan Murray (on for Karl Sheppard, 76 mins), Daniel Kearns, Shaun Timmins, Stephen McDonnell (on for Conor Henderson, 73 mins), Andrew Boyle (on for Conor Clifford, 90 mins), Harrison Crawford.
UEFA Under-19 Championship Elite Stage Qualifiers:
Wednesday, May 26
England 1-0 Republic of Ireland
Friday, May 28
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Ukraine
Monday, May 31
Bosnia-Herzegovina v Republic of Ireland (4pm)
FFU Training complex, Kiev.