The Boys in Green saw their slim chances of qualifying for the European Championships ended after today’s result in Akko.
THE REPUBLIC OF Ireland’s U21s suffered a 3-1 defeat to Israel at Akko Municipal this evening.
Noel King’s side headed into their penultimate qualifier still not mathematically out of the running for a place at next year’s European Championships.
However, the home side went in front on 15 minutes as Gavriel Kanichowsky found the back of the net after Neta Lavi’s cross was only half-cleared.
Ireland pulled level just after the hour-mark thanks to substitute Ronan Hale. After the Derry City man’s goal had been ruled out for handball moments earlier, he made no mistake in side-footing past Assaf Tzur.
What a finish from @ronanhale9! 👏👏
The @derrycityfc striker never looked like he was going to miss and gets #IRLU21🇮🇪 level! 🙌
We need the winner! #COYBIGpic.twitter.com/0qJSzqdY4l
But Israel were ahead again on 77 minutes through Maxim Plakushchenko. His lobbed ball into the box was completely missed by Ireland goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara as it rolled into an empty net.
With Ireland pushing for an equaliser in injury-time, Israel broke on the counter-attack and Yonatan Cohen sealed the victory before the final whistle blew.
“It was a strange game,” said King. “We weren’t really at it in the first-half and they’ve created a number of chances. Despite that, we should go in level if we take our chances.
“It’s a really unfortunate goal to concede at a crucial time. It’s a tough defeat for the players to take but they’ll learn from this experience as we look towards the Germany on Tuesday.”
Next up is a trip to Heidenheim to face Group 5 leaders Germany on Tuesday.
ISRAEL: Assaf Tzur; Yosef Raz Meir, Amit Bitton, Idan Nachmias (c), Yarden Cohen; Gavriel Kanichowsky (Maxim Plakushchenko 75), Neta Lavi, Yonatan Cohen, Or Dasa (Mohammad Abu Fani 64), Moti Barshazky (Shay Golan 88); Shoan Weissman.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Kieran O’Hara; Corey Whelan, Ryan Delaney (Jamie McGrath 85), Ryan Sweeney, Danny Kane; Josh Cullen (c), Jordan Shipley (Ronan Hale 59), Liam Kinsella; Harry Charsley, Reece Grego-Cox (Jake Mulraney 85), Ronan Curtis.
Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud