Republic of Ireland Under-17s exited the European Championship in controversial fashion in Chesterfield when goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran was sent off during the penalty shoot-out against Holland.
Corcoran saved Holland’s fifth spot-kick from Daishawn Redan to seemingly keep his side’s hopes alive – only to be issued his second yellow card from referee Zbynek Proske for allegedly coming off his line.
A distraught Corcoran was forced to hand his goalkeepers’ shirt to defender Oisin McEntee, but Redan made no mistake with his second attempt to send the Dutch through to the semi-finals after a game which had ended 1-1.
As the Dutch wheeled away in triumph after a 5-4 victory, Irish officials remonstrated with the referee and senior team boss Martin O’Neill marched onto the pitch to take issue with the decision.
After the match, O’Neill said: "I think he said something that he might have come off his line earlier. He warned the Dutch goalkeeper in two of the penalties as well.
"Look, these boys have done their country proud tonight. They’ve great character, they’ve been like that all year and they’re a super bunch of lads.
"Probably our quality on the ball tonight might have been a little bit better, but we limited this talented Dutch team in goal-scoring opportunities.
"We got a great goal after going one down, it went to penalties and we were very unfortunate with what happened here tonight."
"They’ll be devastated but they’ve been fantastic year and they’ve all got big careers ahead of them.
"They’ve had a great season with us, going through two qualifying rounds with us unbeaten, topped their group and as I’ve said they’ve run a real talented Dutch side right to the limit tonight.
"It’s a tough way to go out but we’ll take a lot out of it and they’ve all got big careers ahead of them in the game."
Republic had forced their way back into the match after the Dutch capped a spell of dominance by grabbing the lead in the 62nd minute with a powerful header by Liam van Gelderen.
But the Irish were level almost immediately when a clever one-two between Troy Parrott and Jason Knight in the box resulting in the former sweeping home a superb shot.
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