Republic of Ireland Women's Under 17s move top of Group 4
A late goal from Alannah McEvoy helped the Republic of Ireland Women's Under 17s record a 1-0 victory over Serbia in the first of three UEFA European Championship Elite Round qualifiers.
Dave Bell's team set out for these qualifiers with the intention of taking it one game at a time - refusing to look beyond their first match, which happened to be against hosts Serbia in Stara Pazova.
Well, they completed the first part of that mission as they collected three crucial points. And with Scotland drawing with Hungary in the other game, Ireland moved into pole position.
"I'm delighted for the girls because it was a very hard-working performance put in by everyone in the team," said Bell afterwards.
"We started well and had two or three chances to take the lead inside the first 15 minutes. Then our passing went a bit sloppy and Serbia came back at us, but we kicked on again, controlled the possession and always looked like scoring.
"It is a great win because we kept a clean sheet, didn't pick up any yellow cards and got the three points that we targeted. If we can reach those standards in our next two games then I would be confident of progressing further.
"But there is still work to do and we will turn our attention to Scotland now. We have watched some of their DVDs and will do our homework on them. But I'm really pleased by this performance and it puts us in the driving seat."
Ireland recorded six attempts on target overall with Carla McManus, Tiegan Ruddy and Sadhbh Doyle going close before McEvoy found the breakthrough on 77 minutes, thanks to an incisive assist from captain Ruddy.
That goal proved to be the winner and it sets Ireland up nicely ahead of facing Scotland on Wednesday and Hungary on Saturday.
Republic of Ireland: Turner; Doyle, Ruddy, Grier; Mackey, Toland, Fahey (McGovern 80), McEvoy; Payne, McManus, Carolan (Spillane 52).
Serbia: Cetinja; Josic, Mostarac, Krstic, Frajtovic; Savanovic, Miladinovic, Trbojevic; Plavsic, Agbaba (Zivkovic 78), Bulatovic.
Referee: Shona Shukrula (Netherlands).
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