Parrott helps shoot Irish to top of qualifying group

by Dave Donnelly
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Buckingham Street native Troy Parrott was the star of the show as the Republic of Ireland topped their Under-19 European Championship qualifying group in Longford.

The Tottenham Hotspur striker scored four times, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands, as Ireland breezed through to the elite qualifying round as top seeds.

Ireland topped a group that contained the highly-rated Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Faroes with a flawless record of three wins from three.

That culminated in a 2-1 win over a Netherlands side containing a handful of the reigning Under-17 European champions on Tuesday afternoon, a result that secured seeding for the elite round.

That seeding could be vital as only the winners of each elite round group will qualify for the finals, which will take place in Armenia next July.

Former Cherry Orchard schoolboy Nathan Collins, the son of former underage international David Collins, played all three games in the heart of the Irish defence.

St Patrick’s Athletic goalkeeper Brian Maher was between the sticks for all three games, conceding just twice, while his teammate Richie O’Farrell was an unused reserve.

The Stoke City man was joined by Bohemians pair Andy Lyons and Ali Reghba, both of whom have recently made the breakthrough to Keith Long’s first time in Phibsborough.

Ireland have failed to qualify for the last seven tournaments, last reaching the finals when a squad featuring Jeff Hendrick and Matt Doherty were knocked out in the semi finals by winners Spain.

Tom Mohan’s side won all three of their preliminary group games, which all took place at City Calling Stadium in Longford.

There was a hint of revenge about the final outing as it was the Dutch who controversially knocked many of the same squad out of the under-17 Euros on penalties in England this summer.

Five members of that side were represented in the Ireland line-up on Tuesday, while six of the Dutch side had made the step up to under-19 level.

Adam Idah and Will Ferry were on target for Ireland after Ole ter Haar Romenij had given the Dutch an early lead against the run of play.

Idah levelled on the half-hour and Ferry put the finish on a fine team move 20 minutes from the end, and Ireland rode their luck a little as they hold on for a potentially pivotal victory.

The two sides came into the game on the back of flawless records, having each beaten Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Faroe Islands in their first two games.

The Netherlands boasted a superior goal difference of +11 to Ireland’s five, however, meaning anything other than a win would see Ireland qualify as runners-up.

Goals from Ferry, Idah and Parrott saw the home side to a 3-1 win over Bosnia in the opening game.

Former Belvedere schooboy Parrott netted a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over the Faroes three days later to set up a winner-takes-all encounter with the Dutch on the final day.

The draw for the elite round will take place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on December 6.

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