16.08.2006 at 18:30 Panionios F.C Stadium
Saganas for Arampatzis 25 Mins,
Aravidis for Pagonis 53 mins,
Kotitsas for Gkalitsios 71 mins,
Andrew Keogh -> Stephen Ward (71)
The Republic of Ireland took a major step towards qualifying for the second phase of the U21 UEFA Championship when they out-played Greece this evening.
Ireland are involved in a qualifying tournament with Greece and Belgium. Each team will play one another once and the top team will go through to the second qualifying phase of a championship that will conclude in Holland next year.
Ireland opened very positively and deservedly went in front after ten minutes when Paul McShane (West Brom) scored.
Ireland further improved their position early in the second half when Glen Whelan (Sheffield Wednesday) emphasised Irelands superiority with a second goal.
The win leaves Ireland in control of the group. They next play Belgium at Terryland Park, Galway, on on Friday, September 1, at 7.30 pm. Belgium will play Greeece in Belgium in the final match in the group the following week.
Republic of Ireland Under-21 Squad
Colin Doyle - Birmingham City
Darren Randolph - Charlton Athletic
Kevin Foley - Luton Town
Paul McShane - W.B.A
Alex Bruce - Ipswich Town
Marcos Painter - Birmingham City
Darren O Dea - Celtic
Glenn Whelan - Sheffield Wednesday
Willo Flood - Cardiff
Paul Keegan - Drogheda United
Michael Timlin - Fulham
Gary Dicker - UCD
Kevin Deery - Derry City
Jay Tabb - Coventry City
Roy O Donovan - Cork City
Andy Keogh - Scunthorpe United
Stephen Ward - Bohemians
Anthony Stokes –
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21 manager Don Givens paid tribute to his young guns after their victory over Greece in a UEFA Championships qualifier in Athens last night.
Paul McShane gave Ireland the start they were looking for when he found the net with a thumping header after just 10 minutes.
Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Glenn Whelan wrapped up a precious victory in the 52nd minute when he latched on to a Flood lay-off and to beat Sifakis with a beautifully struck effort from 25 yards.
Givens was thrilled with the application and maturity of the performance of his youngsters to leave themselves with a great chance of reaching the final tournament next year.
He said: “They did exactly as we wanted them to do. Needing to not lose meant we approached the game looking to be very solid and counter-attack.
“They did it to the letter of the law. It was disciplined and every time they got the chance to have a go they did.
“We could have scored two or three more.
“Everybody was very solid. Colin Doyle didn’t have much to do in goal but he looked very imposing. They all did their jobs.
“Willo Flood caused chaos down the right and looked very sharp. Stephen Ward was magnificent up front on his own and Paul McShane was brilliant at the back.
“Paul is a great defender. He wants to head that ball and put his body in where it hurts. He’s terrific.”
Ireland will meet Belgium in the second game in the group in Galway‘s Terryland Park on September 1 with a victory required to send them through to the play-offs for a place in the finals in Holland.
Givens wants the Galway public to come out in force to support his young guns as they bid to make history.
He said: “We still have to beat Belgium because if we drew that game then the Belgians would know they only have to beat Greece by more than two to go through.
“Belgium are the number one seed so they’re still the favourites. We want a big crowd at Terryland Park to help us clinch it.
“This result was right up there with all the best results we’ve achieved over the years. We were so much in control of the game and played some terrific possession football.”
GREECE: Sifakis; Gkalitsios (Kotitsas, 71), Pagonis (Aravidis, 53), Torosidis, Papadoulos, Tziolis, Pliagkas, Arampatzis (Saganas, 25), Petropoulos, Leontiou, Kapetanos.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Doyle (Birmingham); Foley (Luton Town), Painter (Birmingham), Bruce (Ipswich), McShane (West Bromwich Albion), Keegan (Drogheda Utd), Deery (Derry City), Whelan (Sheffield Wed), Flood (Cardiff City), Ward (Bohemians) (Keogh, Scunthorpe, 71), Timlin (Fulham).