Goalkeeper Alan Reilly became the first hero among equals when he saved Cypriot penalty kicks 1 and 2. Puerto Rican international Chris Megaloudis was on target with the third Cyrpus effort. But then Irish skipper Alan O’Hara stepped up to score the fourth consecutive Irish penalty and it was all over. Sean Purcell, Pat Kelly and Conor Hunter scored the first three Irish penalties, cheered on by a large and vocal following.
During regular time, the younger and more physically imposing Cypriot team had some of the best chances. They hit the post twice just on half time, after Ireland’s Hunter and Kurt Smith came close at the other end. Overall, the Paul Doherty-managed Irish team made few mistakes in what was a very evenly-matched contest.
Earlier, Albania defeated Argentina 2-1. Two members of the winning team were redcarded and will not be playing Ireland in the final.
Jay Mwamba’s report of the weekend’s games will appear in the print and web editions on Wednesday.