Republic of Ireland U17s 4-2 Israel U17s

The Republic of Ireland advanced to the elite qualifying round of the UEFA Under-17 European Championship with a perfect record as they defeated Israel at Turner's Cross today.

First-half goals from Oliver O’Neill and Anselmo Garcia McNulty followed by second-half finishes from Sinclair Armstrong (pictured above) and Evan Ferguson were enough to see the young Boys in Green make it three wins out of three and ensure they head into the next stage of the qualifiers as group winners.

Colin O’Brien’s side came into this game high in confidence following their impressive 6-0 win against Andorra and their 3-1 victory over Montenegro at this venue last week.

And after controlling the opening exchanges, Ireland finally took the lead in the 17th minute thanks to an excellent finish from O’Neill.

The Fulham forward secured Omotayo Adarmola’s pass on the left flank and forced his way into the box before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom left corner at the near post.

The hosts remained dominant and deservedly made it 2-0 shortly before the half-time break when Wolfsburg defender Garcia McNulty tapped home Ben McCormack’s low corner for his second goal in two games.

Ireland scored from another corner at the beginning of the second half as Armstrong nodded McCormack’s superb delivery into the net from close range.

Sinclair Armstrong (C) scored Ireland's third

Israel, to their credit, refused to give up and reduced the deficit when Ellay Yacob Shafiki directed his header from a corner just inside the far left post.

But the Irish restored their three-goal advantage just past the hour as Bohemians’ Ferguson shrugged off his marker before rolling the ball past the keeper.

Israel’s Dor David Turgeman completed the scoring as he drilled the ball into the bottom-right corner but it wasn’t enough for them join Ireland in the Elite round as Montenegro’s dramatic last-minute strike against Andorra in Cobh saw them secure second place in Group three.

The draw for the Elite Round will take place on 3 December when 32 teams will be drawn into eight groups of four. The group winners and seven best runners will join host nation Estonia in the Finals next summer.

Republic of Ireland: Daniel Rose; Gavin Liam O’Brien, Oisin Hand, Anselmo Garcia McNulty, Omtayo Adaramola; Oran Crowe, Ben McCormack (Andrew Moran 76), Colin Conroy (Mohammed Olabosun Lawal 76); Sinclair Armstrong (Robert Mahon 67), Evan Ferguson (Calum Kavanagh 83), Oliver O’Neill (Kailin Barlow 83).

Israel: Dvir Nir; Ellay Yacob Shafiki, Ismail Soboh, Ariel Belson; Bar Nuhi, Ilay Madmoun, Dor David Turgeman, Anar Ushmandi, Romi Cohen (Amit Kodman 74); Ebrahem Bader (Omer Senior 91), Ron Arie (Osher Eliyahu 52).

Referee: Mario Zebec (Croatia)