Ireland U21 manager Jim Crawford believes that his young Irish side 'have really promising futures ahead of them'

Ireland U21 manager Jim Crawford believes that his young Irish side 'have really promising futures ahead of them'

DESPITE THE PENALTY HEARTBREAK IN Tel Aviv last night, Republic of Ireland manager Jim Crawford believes that his young Irish side have huge future ahead of them.

The Irish U21s lost 3-1 in a penalty shootout to Israel on Tuesday night. The defeat all but ended the Ireland's chances of reaching a first ever U21 Europeon Championship in Romania and Georgia next year.

However Crawford believes that Ireland's younger group can look in a posistive direction despite the heartbreaking loss.

The likes of Evan Ferguson, Tyreik Wright, Eiran Cashin, Will Smallbone, and other talented Irish players are some of the players that played last night.

"You can practice penalties all you want. Nothing compares to the pressure that was on these players today. Every fan whistling at them and booing them as they were stepping up to take the penalty, Crawford told RTE Sport.

"It's a real punch in the stomach for the players. They didn't deserve it because of how hard they worked. The young boys that have come in have stood up to the test brilliantly. Some of them have really, really promising futures ahead of them.

Expanding on the teams performance after the loss, Crawford added he was proud despite the loss.

"I couldn't be more proud of the players out there today. It was backs against the wall stuff for large portions of the game. And we expected that, we knew that.

One of the standout players of Ireland's campaign was under-21 captain Conor Coventry. The West Ham playmaker added a similar sentement to Crawford

"Obviously we’re devastated," Coventry told the same outlet. "We’ve been on a great run and I’m really proud of the lads in there.

"It’s been a massive honour to captain them for this time and everything they’ve showed, their character and the amount of time we’ve been down and out and come back.

"The lads in there, some of them are still boys and to have the bottle to stand up there and take a penalty in front of so many fans.

"I’ve got massive respect for everyone in there, we fought and gave everything and I just love playing for this team.

"We gave everything and left everything out there. They were probably the better team tonight and we were the better team in Tallaght, maybe we could have capitalised on that a bit more.

"What can you say? It’s penalties obviously it’s a skill but there’s a bit of luck involved as well, so congratulations to them."


Israel: Peretz; Melamud, Morgan, Cohen; Herman (Zasno 74), Karzev, Gloukh (Hofmeister 97), Shahar (Kanaan 62), Leidner (Layous 63); Gorno (Davida 70), Abade (Levi 97).Republic of Ireland: Maher; O’Connor, Redmond, O’Brien, Cashin (Roughan 90); Smallbone (O’Neill 106), Hodge (Devoy 59), Coventry, Lyons (Wright 84); Connolly (Ferguson 106), Tierney (Azaz 59).Referee: Nathan Verboomen (Belgium).