An early strike from Fanni Vachter put Ireland on the backfoot, but they hit back through Saoirse Noonan and Lauren Kelly to move top of Group 3 with two games left to play.
Having topped their group in the first phase of qualifying last October, Dave Bell’s team had form in coming through tough games. So when they fell behind on 26 minutes they didn’t panic.
Ireland continued to play their free-flowing attacking football and moving the ball forward at speed. It was something that Hungary struggled to cope with and that is when Noonan found a way through on 56 minutes to level the score.
Kelly, who had been introduced as a substitute just three minutes before, set up the captain to score that crucial goal. And on 80 minutes Kelly got one of her own when firing in after good work by Alex Kavanagh.
“Hungary were very dangerous on the counter attack, but we created 15 chances overall and on the balance of play deserved to win the game,” said Bell.
“The girls deserve great respect for coming back from a goal down to get the result. We still have things to improve – myself as the coach included – but we’re getting better and better all the time.
“I think this result will give the girls a lot of confidence, but they have a great team spirit anyway. They really do work hard for each other and that showed in their performance.
“We had around 40 family members and friends travel over to support the girls, which was fantastic and that gave the girls a big boost. Now, we have to get a result against Czech Republic and make the last game against France all to play for.”
Reaching the finals tournament in Belarus was always the target for Bell once this qualifying campaign started and that may look within reach for many but he won’t allow his squad to get carried away. There are still two tough games left to play and they are all that matter.
Next up is Monday’s encounter with Czech Republic, who drew 1-1 with group hosts France in their game.
Republic of Ireland U-17s: McAloon; O’Callaghan (Craven 71), Farrelly, Doyle, Green (O’Gorman 75); Noonan, Ruddy, Kavanagh; Payne, Homan (Kelly 53), Kiernan.
Source / photo – fai.ie