Irish Under 21’s Seek Big Win In Montenegro


The Republic of Ireland U21 side face a tough test in UEFA U21 Championships Qualifying Round Group Six tomorrow when they meet Montenegro in Podgorica (4pm Irish time).

Noel King’s side drew level with the Montenegrins in second place in the group on Friday  when the Irish beat the Faroe Islands 5-2 in Sligo while Montenegro drew 1-1 with Germany.

The Irish head coach knows that a victory in this fixture could have a massive influence on Ireland’s chances of sealing second place and potentially a play-off spot for a place in the finals. 

“Montenegro are a very good side and their record speaks for itself. They drew with Germany on Friday and have also beaten Romania and the Faroes,” said King.

“This is going to be a huge test for our side but it’s one that we’re all looking forward to. We are going into the game with the mentality that if we can catch up ground on them then we will. A win puts us back into contention and that’s how we are going to approach it.

“We will go about it in the normal manner and play to our usual style and strengths while being aware that maybe we’ll have a bit more defending than we had in Friday’s game against the Faroe Islands.”

King’s side won comfortably on Friday in a dramatic game that produced seven goals in the first half and he acknowledged that the three points had given his side a confidence boost.

“The mood is very good, the lads enjoy being together and they know what is expected on them. The little slip midway through the first half when we conceded two goals was a concern at the time but the reaction wasn’t in doubt. We could have scored more in the second half,” he said.

Blackburn defender Anthony O’Connor is ruled out with a knee injury while Matt Doherty was considered but failed a fitness test. Connor Smith returns from suspension.

The biggest concern since Friday has been travel where a flight cancellation delayed their arrival in Podgorica and denied them a day’s training.

“Everything is alright now and the weather is fine. It was a tough travelling schedule for us and we arrived late on Sunday night so we just rested and missed a session. It can be disruptive but that’s the way it is and we’ll get on with it,” he added.

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