08.10.1999 at 19:00
Referee: T Ovrebo (Norway)
Alex O Reilly
Andy O Brien
Macedonia 0 Republic of Ireland 1
Martin Rowland's 33rd-minute header provided the Republic of Ireland’s new-look Under-21 side with a winning finish in the European Championship qualifiers in Macedonia.
Although third place in the Group Eight table leaves them well short of reaching next summer’s finals there were some encouraging pointers to the future for manager Ian Evans.
Evans fielded 10 new caps in a squad which was almost entirely made up of players who featured in last year’s European Youth Championship in Cyprus.
Brentford midfielder Rowlands made the decisive contribution but he had to share star billing with flying Liverpool winger Richie Partridge after his brilliant run and cross set up the goal perfectly.
Luton strike pair Liam George and Gary Doherty should have added further goals for Ireland but George twice failed to beat keeper Matija Mirkin when clean through.
Macedonia, who forced a goalless drew in Galway in June only for UEFA to discover they fielded a suspended player, also had their opportunities.
But the Republic, with Bradford’s Premiership regular Andy O’Brien in solid form alongside Barnsley’s Jason Gavin, survived a second-half revival.
The only blots on the Republic copy book were bookings for goal hero Rowlands and Huddersfield full-back Tom Heary ö although boss Evans was furious with Heary’s yellow card.
MACEDONIA: Mirkov, Elnazovski, Petrov (Toleski 46), Vasoski, Stamenovski (Spasovski 75), Stojanov, Ramadan, Kristev (Siveski 64), Nacevski, Ignatov, Ruteski.
IRELAND: O’Reilly, Heary, A. O’Brien, Gavin, Clarke, Rowlands, Quinn, Healy (R. O’Brien 58), Partridge, Doherty (Sadlier 84), George (Baker 80).
Referee: T Ovrebo (Norway).
Croatia 8 6 2 0 25 7 20
Yugoslavia 8 5 2 1 29 10 17
Republic of Ireland 8 4 2 2 13 12 14
Malta 8 1 0 7 8 23 3
F.Y.R. Macedonia 8 1 0 7 2 25 3