Paul Doolin's Republic of Ireland Under-19 side kept their hopes of reaching the UEFA Championships finals alive after a remarkable 2-2 draw with Slovakia at at FK Srem, Jakovo.

The Irish looked set to crash out at the Elite Qualifying Round phase when they fell 2-1 behind in the 89th minute, but Steven Smith kept Ireland in the competition with an injury-time equaliser.

With Switzerland recording a 1-0 win over hosts Serbia, the Irish will qualify for the finals in Lithuania this summer if they beat the Serbs on Tuesday and Switzerland lose to Slovakia.

Ireland, who also drew 2-2 with the Swiss on Thursday, started well and created some decent chances. Sam Byrne almost connected with an Adam Evans cross, while Kieran Sadlier was off target with a long-range volley.

Byrne gave Ireland the lead on 24 minutes when he turned home a cross from Sean Long, but Slovakia looked threatening.

Michal Fasko forced a save from Irish goalkeeper Ian Lawlor and it took a Noe Baba block to deny Manchester City’s impressive Albert Rusnak.

Sadlier had a chance to extend Ireland’s lead but headed wide from a Kenny McEvoy cross before Matus Marcin levelled for Slovakia in the 54th minute with a close-range finish.

Rusnak looked to have won the game for the Slovaks in the 90th minute after the Irish failed to defend a free-kick, but Doolin’s side refused to give in and two minutes into injury time, Smith smashed home after the Slovaks failed to clear a Bradley Garmston corner.

Republic of Ireland: Lawlor; Long, Sweeney, Smith, Griffin; Baba (Gallagher 57), Miele (Kavanagh 69); McEvoy, Sadlier, Evans (Garmston h-t); Byrne.

Slovakia: Holec; Habanek, Satka, Pinter, Mazan; Ninaj (Bednarik 83), Lobokta; Smehyi (Ivan 66), Rusnak, Fasko (Mihalik h-t); Marcin.

Referee: O Grinfeld (Israel).