Dramatic scenes in Tallaght when Ireland beat Sweden with the last kick of the match to secure an important victory in the European Championship qualifiers
With literally the last kick of the game, sub Ollie O’Neill gave Ireland’s U21 year olds a famous victory over Tallaght in this European Championship 2023 qualifier.
The Slovak referee did not even bother to restart the match in the 92nd minute after O’Neill calmly took his time in the penalty area and hit the ball into the Swedish net.
It was no more than Ireland deserved for a nice second half of football that made the team create four excellent goal chances.
But this team has had a hard time reaching goals and it seemed like this would be another one of those nights. But no, the Fulham player turned in the penalty area and gave Ireland the three points they deserved.
For most of its length, this was a strange competition. Both teams bet on playing football and passing the opposition. But they simply interrupted each other and the match never caught fire.
After suffering in conflict with Italy’s superior technology on Friday, Ireland really found Sweden as a more unbeatable opponent. Conor Coventry and Gavin Kilkenny in the Irish midfield were much more obvious figures in this match and they managed to free Ireland’s strikers on a regular basis.
But it seemed as if the goal would not come and it has been a feature of Ireland’s campaign – we have only scored six goals in as many matches, two of them against Luxembourg. And Ireland have just played both Italy and Sweden in the space of five days at home and had not scored in 180 minutes of football.
Until O’Neill showed up to give the team a famous win.
Ireland: Maher; O’Connor, O’Brien, McGuinness; Bagan; Kilkenny, Coventry; Smallbone, Tierney, Wright; Kayode. Subs: Ferry to Tierney 68 min; Ferguson for Kayode 76 min; O’Neill for Wright and Noss for Smallbone 84 minutes
Sweden: Brolin; Holm, Ousou, Vagic, Svensson; Walemark, Gustavsson, Hussein, Elanga; Al Hajj, Sarr. Subs: Abraham for Sarr and Nygren for Walemark 68 min; Price for Al Hajj 79 min; Edvardsson for Gustafsson 85 min.
Judge: P. Kralovic (Slovakia)