‘Superior’ Serbia end Republic’s finals dream

Under-19s miss out on European finals in July

Republic of Ireland U19 manager Paul Doolin.

Republic of Ireland U19 manager Paul Doolin.

 

Republic of Ireland 1 Serbia 3

Defeat for the Republic of Ireland in yesterday’s concluding elite stage qualifier against Serbia ended Paul Doolin’s hopes of leading his side to the European finals in July.

Ireland’s exit coincides with the completion of Doolin’s contract and afterwards he was non-committal about extending his four-year tenure.

Victory for Ireland over Iceland and defeat to Turkey in the campaign meant nothing less than three points would suffice against Serbia.

However, the reigning European champions crushed Ireland’s dream at Tallaght Stadium by racing three goals ahead by the 67th minute.

Veljko Simic and Stanisa Mandic scored in a 10-minute spell either side of the interval before Simic rifled in his second on 67 minutes.

Although Sam Byrne pulled one back soon after, Ireland were outclassed by a side whose victory clinched them top spot in the group on goal difference over Turkey.

Afterwards, Doolin acknowledged the chasm in standard between the sides.

“Serbia were far superior than us and I’ve no complaints about the result,” he said.

“I told the players there’s no shame in losing to such great side. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the players.”

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