Euros heartache for Academy duo
- 01 April 2014 09:52
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
Tom Holland and Martin Samuelsen both faced bitter disappointment as the Republic of Ireland and Norway failed to qualify for the finals of the u17 European Championships.
Both Academy scholars have been heavily involved for their national sides at every stage of preparation and the initial qualifying rounds, and were aiming to take the next step to the finals in Malta.
The format made it tough for both teams, with only the eight group winners earning a place at the finals tournament in the summer.
Irish midfielder Holland has been a regular for Tom Mahon’s squad, and completed all 90 minutes in Ireland’s opening game with Serbia. Unfortunately, he could not prevent his side going down 2-1 to the hosts, and was not involved in the subsequent 3-0 loss to Germany.
However, the City man returned to the starting line-up for the final game with Georgia and shone in the centre of the park. He set up his country’s first goal from a corner, and was heavily involved in the build-up of the second as part of a fine display. Unfortunately, Ireland had to settle for a draw after conceding two late strikes.
Meanwhile, Samuelsen emerged from the bench in Norway’s first game with Turkey after 75 minutes, but unfortunately finished on the losing side as the Turks triumphed 3-2. The versatile midfield man, who can play on the wing or through the centre, was rewarded for a strong late cameo with a start in the next game with Poland.
But Samuelsen’s tournament ended early after he was forced to withdraw after 63 minutes, fouled by an opponent as he launched an attack. The Academy youngster was unable to have any involvement in Norway’s final match, which finished 3-0 to Greece.
International tournament experience is sure to benefit both players as they look to make the grade with City in the coming years.