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16.11.2007 at 19:00 Podgorica City Stadium Attendance:
Montenegro 1 - 0 Under 21
Referee: Fariz Yusifov (Azerbaijan) European Qualifier-match

Goran Vujovic 4 mins, None.
Opening squads
Bojan Radanovic;
Elsad Zverotic (Capt.),
Blazo Igumanovic,
Mijusko Bojovic,
Milko Novakovic;
Darko Markovic,
Predrag Brenovic,
Marko Vidovic,
Marko Cetkovic;
Gorman Vujovic,
Ilija Spasjjevic.
Darren Quigley
Joe O Cearuill
Eddie Nolan
Conor Powell
Richard Keogh
Stephen Gleeson
Keith Treacy
Stephen Quinn
John Joe O Toole
Jim O Brien
Adam Rooney
Ivan Delic for Marko Vidovic 58 mins,
Petar Vukcevic for Predrag Brenovic 73 mins,
Drasko Bozovic for Ilija Spasjjevic 81 mins,
Shane Supple
Michael Spillane
Alan Sheehan
Aidan Downes
Chris Mc Cann
Conor Sammon
Milan Mijatovic,
Miroslav Kaluderovic,
Miroje Jovanovic,
Krsto Zvicer
Aidan Downes -> John Joe O Toole (66)
Conor Sammon -> Jim O Brien (86)
Yellow cards
Marko Vidovic 7 mins;
Darko Marcovic 49 mins,
Ilija Spasojevic 73 mins,
Petar Vukčević 77 mins,
Keith Treacy (65)
Conor Powell (78)
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
Friday 16th November 2007
UEFA Under-21 European Championship Group 3 qualifier
Montenegro 1 - 0 Republic of Ireland
Vujovic 4

The Republic of Ireland Under-21s fell to an unfortunate defeat in Montenegro, going down to an early goal despite dominating the game.

Ireland, under the management of Sean McCaffrey due to Don Givens’ caretaker role with the senior squad, gave debuts at this level to Watford’s impressive midfielder John Joe O’Toole and Keith Treacy of Blackburn Rovers.

Billy Clarke was missing through suspension, while Darren O’Dea and Anthony Stokes were promoted to the senior squad for tomorrow’s Euro 2008 qualifier in Wales. Furthermore, first-choice goalkeeper Darren Randolph was unavailable because of injury, as were Stephen O’Halloran and Owen Garvan.

McCaffrey’s men got off to the worst possible start, conceding an early goal after just four minutes. A swift counter attack left Ireland exposed at the back and striker Goran Vujovic found room on the right-hand side and blasted a powerful shot high into the Irish net.

Ireland’s carved out their first chance on nine minutes. Stephen Quinn was released on the left and the Sheffield United midfielder struck a shot across goal, which drifted just inches beyond the onrushing Adam Rooney.

Ireland enjoyed plenty of possession but found it difficult to breakdown a solid Montenegrin backline, with captain and right-full Elsad Zverotic looking particularly impressive.

Rooney’s next chance came on 29 minutes when he latched onto a pass down the left but his shot was put out for a corner by Bojan Radanovic.

The home side could have doubled their lead on 37 minutes. The lively Vujovic beat Keogh on the right and drilled a cross for strike-partner Ilija Spasojevic but he couldn’t connect properly and the chance was cleared.

It was Vujovic again who was causing problems four minutes later when his snap-shot from 18 yards flew just wide of the Irish post.

Keith Treacy almost drew Ireland level in the final minute of the half when he unleashed a wonderful curling shot from all of 30 yards.

However, with the ‘keeper well beaten, the shot went just a foot wide of the post, denying the Blackburn Rovers winger a debut goal.

The first chance of the second half fell to Ireland on 65 minutes. Stephen Quinn, enjoying a productive game in midfield, fed a delightful ball to put Adam Rooney one-on-one with Radanovic but the Montenegrin stopper blocked his effort.

One minute later, Ireland threatened again. Treacy pulled back inside and drilled a powerful effort but it was straight at Radanovic.

Ireland were now piling on the pressure and on 65 minutes switched to a more attacking formation, with Everton striker Aidan Downes replacing midfielder JJ O’Toole.

Downes could have got his name on the score-sheet in the 81st minute. Quinn crossed the ball into the box but Downes didn’t get enough purchase on his shot that flew harmlessly over the crossbar.

Conor Sammon was introduced in the dying minutes to strengthen the Irish attack and the UCD striker almost made an immediate impact but he could not direct Keith Treacy’s cross towards the goal.

Ireland bombarded the Montenegro goalmouth as the game drew to a close but were unable to find the goal that would have salvaged a point.

Sean McCaffrey commented afterwards: “We could have won 3-0 or lost 3-0, it was that sort of game. I thought Montenegro were the better team in the first half and took their chance, whereas we were the better team in the second half and didn’t take our chances.

“We started poorly and gave away a verysoft goal. But there are some positives to take – we played very well for 70 minutes and we had some very good performances. Eddie Nolan, Stephen Gleeson, Keith Treacy, Adam Rooney, Stephen Quinn – I thought they all played very well.

“That is three games in a row that this team have conceded an early goal and failed to score. You need to take your chances and we aren’t doing that."

McCaffrey gave a positive appraisal on the future of Irish football, in spite of today’s reverse.

“Generally, I think the state of Irish football between the ages of 19 and 21 is very good,” he said. “There is probably a whole team of players under the age of 21 that aren’t in this squad for various reasons – the likes of Andy Keogh, Paul McShane, Aidan McGeady, Anthony Stokes, Stephen O’Halloran, Darren O’Dea.”

Bulgaria’s visit to Lissywoolen Stadium in Athlone next Tuesday (7.45pm) now takes on added significance, as Ireland seek to record their first points of this UEFA Under-21 European Championship campaign.

Montenegro: Bojan Radanovic; Elsad Zverotic (Capt.), Blazo Igumanovic, Mijusko Bojovic, Milko Novakovic; Darko Markovic, Predrag Brenovic (Petar Vukcevic, 73 mins), Marko Vidovic (Ivan Delic, 58 mins.), Marko Cetkovic; Gorman Vujovic, Ilija Spasjjevic (Drasko Bozovic, 81 mins.)
Substitutes not used: Milan Mijatovic, Miroslav Kaluderovic, Miroje Jovanovic, Krsto Zvicer

Republic of Ireland: Darren Quigley (UCD); Eddie Nolan (Blackburn Rovers), Conor Powell (Bohemians), Joe O’Cearuill (Barnet), Richard Keogh (Bristol City) – captain; John-Joe O’Toole (Watford) - Aidan Downes (Everton) - 69 mins, Stephen Gleeson (Wolves), Stephen Quinn (Sheffield United); Adam Rooney (Stoke City), Jim O’Brien (Celtic) - Conor Sammon (UCD) - 88 mins, Keith Treacy (Blackburn Rovers).

Substitutes not used: Alan Sheehan (Leicester City), Chris McCann (Burnley), Shane Supple (Ipswich Town), Michael Spillane (Norwich City).
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