Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised the second half efforts of his side, as they came from a goal ...Sun, Jun 11 2017
It went all the way to penalties but Ireland kept their nerve in the Plate Final to end their participation in the Homeless World Cup on a high.
Thomas Morgan's side overcame Egypt after one round of penalties following a 4-4 draw in normal time, which ensured they ended the tournament without losing a single game in match play.
Adrian Power was the hero as he confidently rolled a left-footed effort into the back of the net before Egypt struck the post as Ireland goalkeeper John Farrell stood tall. That is all that was needed to decide the tight contest.
While Ireland didn't manage to go all the way through to the main final, they can be incredibly proud of their strong finish and also their slick performances that saw them beat Lithuania, Bulgaria, United States, Greece and Sweden in the First Stage.
In the Second Stage, they came up against Hungary, Chile, United Street Team, Northern Ireland, and India, before competing in the Trophy Stage against Costa Rica where a victory on penalties set up their Plate Final with Egypt.
Morgan, who is an FAI Development Officer, helped to guide a very strong team with the assistance of Sean Kavanagh and the eight players who featured throughout the tournament proved just how good they were against some of the best street teams in the world.
"I'm delighted for the lads. You never know what way things will go in a final. I think we dug in deep and did enough to get over the line but they deserved to win it," said Morgan.
"The referee played an extra 10 seconds in the game and Egypt scored to make it 4-4. At that stage it felt like a defeat but we regrouped, got our heads right, and went into the penalties. Adrian Power stepped up first and scored, and they missed their one - and that was that.
"Over the course of 13 games in this tournament we haven't been beaten in match play, in the format of 14 minutes - it was only a couple of times on penalties. So we did fantastic to keep that record intact and the lads deserved to get into a Final.
"It's great that the lads get to go home with something for their efforts. It is sure to give them a huge lift and I hope that they can take the positives from this into their lives and go in the right direction."
For further information on the Irish Street Homeless Leagues visitwww.irishstreetsoccerleagues.