Ireland under-21s suffer penalty woe to miss out on European Championships

Ireland under-21s suffer penalty woe to miss out on European Championships

The Republic of Ireland missed out on a place at the European Under-21 Championship finals after they were beaten on penalties by Israel on Tuesday.

Jim Crawford’s side had been hoping to qualify for the tournament for the first time but were denied 3-1 on spot-kicks after a goalless draw in Tel Aviv meant their play-off ended 1-1 on aggregate.

Tyreik Wright, Evan Ferguson and Dawson Devoy all failed to score in the shoot-out at the Bloomfield Stadium.

Israel had gone into the game as favourites after drafting senior players Liel Abada of Celtic, Maccabi Netanya midfielder Eden Karzev and Olympiacos defender Doron Leidner into their squad.


All three, who played against Albania in the Nations League on Saturday, started the winner-takes-all clash.

The hosts probed in the first half but were repeatedly repelled by the Irish defence. Abada and Oscar Gloukh shot wide while Idan Gorno forced Ben Maher to save.

Ireland threatened early in the second period when Aaron Connolly cut inside but his curling effort missed the target.

Ireland goalkeeper Brian Maher dejected after failing to save the winning penalty. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Maher saved from Gloukh and Abada as Israel came back again while Gorno failed to trouble the keeper.


Ireland had some opportunities late in normal time but Ryan Connolly flicked wide and Andy Lyons shot over.

Substitute Finn Azaz almost snatched a late winner after good work by Will Smallbone but Israel goalkeeper Daniel Peretz produced a good save.

Neither side could work the keeper in the additional 30 minutes, meaning the place in the finals would be settled by spot-kicks.

Conor Coventry scored but Wright and Ferguson saw their efforts saved. A miss by Gil Cohen gave the Irish hope but Peretz, who also scored one of Israel’s penalties, denied Devoy to send his side through.