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drama Thriller in Tallaght as Ireland beat Sweden to secure vital Euro qualifier victory

Ireland 1 Sweden 0

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Conor Coventry, Brian Maher, Gavin Kilkenny and Ross Tierney celebrate

Conor Coventry, Brian Maher, Gavin Kilkenny and Ross Tierney celebrate

Conor Coventry, Brian Maher, Gavin Kilkenny and Ross Tierney celebrate

With the last kick of the game, substitute Ollie O’Neill gave Ireland’s Under-21s a famous victory at Tallaght in a thrilling Euro 2023 qualifier.

The Slovak referee didn’t even bother restarting the match in the 92nd minute after O’Neill calmly took his time in the penalty area and banged the ball into the Swedish net.

It was no more than Ireland deserved for a fine second half of football that saw the team create four excellent goal chances.

But this team has found goals hard to come by and it seemed that this would be another of those evenings. But no, the Fulham player turned in the penalty area and gave Ireland the three points they deserved.

For most of its length, this was a curious contest. Both teams set out to play possession football and pass their way through the opposition. But they simply cancelled each other out and the match never caught fire.

After suffering in combat with Italy’s superior technique last Friday, Ireland certainly found Sweden a more beatable opponent. Conor Coventry and Gavin Kilkenny in the Irish midfield were far more obvious figures in this game and they managed to free Ireland’s attackers on a regular basis.

But it seemed the goal would not come and that has been a feature of Ireland’s campaign - we’ve only scored six goals in as many games, with two of them against Luxembourg. And Ireland have just played both Italy and Sweden in the space of five days at home and hadn’t scored in 180 minutes of football.

Until O’Neill popped up to give the team a famous win.

Ireland: Maher; O’Connor, O’Brien, McGuinness; Bagan; Kilkenny, Coventry; Smallbone, Tierney, Wright; Kayode. Subs: Ferry for Tierney 68 mins; Ferguson for Kayode 76 mins; O’Neill for Wright and Noss for Smallbone 84 minutes

Sweden: Brolin; Holm, Ousou, Vagic, Svensson; Walemark, Gustavsson, Hussein, Elanga; Al Hajj, Sarr. Subs: Abraham for Sarr and Nygren for Walemark 68 mins; Prica for Al Hajj 79 mins; Edvardsson for Gustafsson 85 mins.

Referee: P. Kralovic (Slovakia)

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