Ireland qualify for European Under-17 Championships after 96th-minute winner

Colin O’Brien’s team beat Cyprus 3-2 thanks to injury-time goal

Ireland have qualified for this summer’s European Under-17 Championships after a dramatic 3-2 win over Cyprus on Monday.

Nickson Okosun sealed Ireland’s qualification with a 96th-minute winner which sees Colin O’Brien’s team top their Elite Round qualifying group ahead of Italy on goals scored. The eight group winners and the seven best runners-up progress to the championships.

The Bohemians forward superbly controlled a through ball on the move before adjusting his body and finishing right footed into the right top corner.

Ireland trailed twice in the game, first drawing level after 62 minutes through a brilliant Luke Kehir free-kick and again in the 82nd minute via Shamrock Rovers’ Naj Razi after he took on two defenders and finished from a tight angle.


This was Ireland’s third game in the Elite Round qualifying, having earlier beaten Ukraine and drawn with Italy.

The championships in Hungary will be Ireland’s 12th appearance at this grade, having won it in 1998 (when it was the Under-16 championships) they last qualified, as hosts, in 2019. A year earlier Ireland reached the quarter-finals where they lost to the Netherlands on penalties.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times