The Republic of Ireland secured their place in the second round of the UEFA Under-19 Women’s European Championship with a game to spare this afternoon in Serbia.
Hat-tricks from Claire Shine and skipper Emma Hansberry as well two goals from Katie McCabe and one each from Carys Johnson and Orlagh Nolan helped Ireland to an emphatic 11-0 win over Latvia at the FK Srem Stadium in Jakovo.
Ireland will now play hosts Serbia for the top spot on Thursday after the Serbs defeated Cyprus 10-0 in the other Group 1 game.
The Serbs, who have a goal difference of plus 25 to Ireland’s 14, need only a draw to win the group.
Ireland manager Dave Connell: "Although we led 4-0 at half-time we were a bit disappointed but we certainly upped the performance in the second half and the 3-4-1-2 formation we used certainly worked. Claire Shine and Emma Hansberry definitely stood up to the plate today and delivered.
"We’ve now qualified for the second phase but we want to go there as group winners. It won’t be easy against Serbia.
"They are a good team and are one of the up and coming countries in women’s football but we are in the position we wanted to be after two game and we’ll go away now and prepare for Thursday."
Republic of Ireland U-19 Women’s Squad: Courtney Brosnan (PDA Slammers, USA); Shauna Newman (Raheny United), Grace Wright (Challenge FC, USA), Carys Johnson (Everton), Ciara O’Connell (Cork Women’s FC), Emma Hansberry (c) (Castlebar Celtic), Chloe Mustaki (Peamount United), Katie McCabe (Raheny United), Claire Shine (Cork Women’s FC), Gemma McGuinness (Greencastle FC), Orlagh Nolan (Shamrock Rovers).
Subs: Rihanna Jarrett (Wexford Youths) for Newman (53), Sinead O’Farrelly (Raheny United) for Mustaki (61), Lauren Murphy (Cork Women’s FC) for O’Connell (70).