Ireland under-19s stun Italy in Euro qualifiers

Conor Levingston and Ronan Hale got the Irish goals

Tom Mohan, Ireland,

Republic of Ireland manager Tom Mohan ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ireland's under-19s have beaten Italy 2-0 in the 2017 UEFA Championships Elite Qualifying Round. 

Goals from Conor Levingston and Ronan Hale gave Tom Mohan’s team an important and impressive win in the Belgian town of Hamme.

Levingston broke the deadlock on 34 minutes after combining with Hale before the latter converted a penalty with 17 minutes to go after Trevor Clarke was fouled in the box.

Ireland now go top of the group on goal difference after that opening win with Belgium second after securing a 2-1 win over Sweden on home soil in Beveren.

Reacting to the landmark victory, Ireland manager Mohan said: "We did very well and I’m very pleased for the players. In the first half we were the better side. After we scored we also hit the bar and could have been more than 1-0 up at the break.

"Italy were always a threat in the second half but our forwards looked very good too. Our midfield were dominant in the first half and we were a threat in wide areas so we put it up to Italy.

"The Italians came out all guns blazing to equalise but our defence was outstanding in that period. Trevor Clarke had a brilliant run for the penalty and Ronan Hale buried it to give us some leeway.

"Caoimhin dealt with what they threw at us but our defence forced them to shoot from distance. Our defenders were excellent.

"We’ll do the recovery sessions in the morning then take it from there. Our total focus now is Sweden on Saturday and we’ll look at the areas we have to improve. This game is gone and it was a job well done but there’s a lot of football to be played in this group."

Ireland XI: Kelleher, O'Keeffe, Masterson, Rice, Wilson, Levingston, Elbouzedi, Molumby, Hale, Mandroiu (McKenna 84), Clarke