GAA Football

In The Irish News - May 9 1998: Republic of Ireland win Euro U16s

Brian Kerr led the Republic of Ireland U16s to European Championship triumph over Italy 20 years ago.

Republic of Ireland coach Brian Kerr hailed his battling troops after they clinched an unexpected triumph in the final of the UEFA Under-16 championships with a 2-1 win over Italy.

"We have come from nowhere to be champions of Europe – that sounds good," Kerr said.

"It is a special moment for Irish football and there should be great joy around the whole of Ireland with this victory.

"It's up there with the best moments I've had in my career and I know people involved in schoolboy football will feel pride in this achievement.

"We didn't get upset after losing our first goal of the tournament. To be honest I didn't think we had that in us. It was a sensational performance."

Deservedly, it was Ireland who led 1- 0 at the break, and it was a goal worthy of any major international tournament. A free kick bang on the 18-yard line five minutes before the interval was curled sweetly around the five-man Italian wall by Keith Foy.

Italy equalised through midfielder Pelanti at McDiarmid Park in Perth, Scotland, but in true fighting Irish style Kerr's heroes responded almost immediately to regain the lead, David McMahon, on 58 minutes.

Andrew Reid, exceptional for all of the 80 minutes on the left wing, swept a ball onto the penalty spot and it was touched on by Foy, leaving McMahon the easiest of tap-ins.

Ireland: Murphy, Thompson, Foy, O'Shea, Goodwin, Miller, S Dunne, McMahon, McGill, Barrett, Reid.

Italy: Posocco, Zaccardo, Lazzeri, Lanzaro, Pagliuchi, Pelanti, Agazzone, Della Dona, Donati, D'Agostino, Papa Subs: Sinigila, Tacchini, Sculli and Miaetta.

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EAMONN McEneaney's plans for this month's Championship clash with Ulster title favourites Derry on May 31 were hit this week by a car thief.

A substantial reward was offered yesterday by the Monaghan County Board after the manager's car was stolen on Thursday night.

McEneaney had a number of items taken, including a considerable amount of training gear and associated materials. The incident took place on the outskirts of Monaghan town, adjacent to the local swimming pool, while he was at a function in Clones.

A statement was issued yesterday by county press officer Gary Carville, who expressed concern over the matter and the fact several important items relating to McEneaney's team preparations were stolen.

He said that officials were asking for the assistance "of the public with the Gardai" to find the perpetrators of the crime. Carville stated that "to this end the County Committee is offering a financial reward for information leading to the recovery of the car and the material and the prosecution of those involved".

It was emphasised that much of the material contained in the car at the time of the theft relating to their Championship preparations for Derry on May 31.

Carville said that these included training manuals and important administration documents, while several personal items and family possessions were also stolen.

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THE mists have cleared, the water is less muddy, Wim Jansen's men know that if they equal whatever Rangers do today then the Scottish Premier title is theirs.

That is not to say predicting the results of the Celtic-St Johnstone and Dundee Utd-Rangers contests will be easy. Any other season and you would certainly prefer the Parkhead side's task. But Dundee United have nothing left to play for but pride, whereas St Johnstone are still battling for a Uefa Cup place.

So Celtic fans will assume that Rangers are going to kick their bad form into touch and record an away win. That means their side have to do the same. A draw is no good. Celtic would lose the title race on goal difference – or even goals scored – if that were to happen.

Much has been said about the Rangers desire to win for their departing manager Walter Smith. In another irony Celtic's players will be hoping to do the same for Jansen, who could lead them to a title before leaving Celtic Park for good.

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