Republic of Ireland youngsters off to a flying start

Dylan Connolly scored the Ireland winner against Andorra

Dylan Connolly scored the Ireland winner against Andorra


Dylan Connolly's lone strike was enough to ensure a winning start to the Republic of Ireland's European Under-21s Championship qualifying campaign.

The Ipswich winger struck 14 minutes before the break at Waterford RSC in front of senior boss Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane (below) to hand Noel King's youngsters the three points they had targeted to ensure their efforts to make it out of Group 2 began in positive fashion.

Ireland dominated throughout but were repeatedly thwarted by Andorra keeper Victor Silverio Pinto, who made a string of saves to keep the visitors in contention until the final whistle.

Ultimately, it was Connolly's 31st-minute effort which won the day as the keeper could only parry striker Conor Wilkinson's shot and Kenny McEvoy set him up to score.

The visitors thought they had levelled with nine minutes remaining when Aaron Sanchez Alburquerque headed past keeper Danny Rogers, but an offside flag ended his celebrations.

Pinto denied Callum O'Dowda and substitute Sean Maguire as time ran down to keep his side in the hunt, but all to no avail.

The Republic, however, will face sterner tests as they attempt to emerge from a group which also includes Italy, Serbia, Slovenia and Lithuania if they are to make it to Poland.

King's side will travel to Andorra in September for the return fixture before back-to-back clashes with Lithuania and Italy in October.

John Terry signs new Chelsea contract

Terry to continue his Chelsea era

Terry to continue his Chelsea era

John Terry has signed the one-year contract extension his manager Jose Mourinho promised he would be given, as he has agreed to stay at the Stamford Bridge club until the summer of 2016.

The Blues announced the skipper's new deal on Thursday, three weeks after manager Mourinho offered a public guarantee that Terry would be at Stamford Bridge next term.

The 34-year-old's existing deal was set to expire at the end of this season and the new contract is in line with Chelsea's policy of offering those over the age of 30 only one-year deals. Terry hopes to stay at Chelsea for some time to come.

Terry told Chelsea TV: "It's been a great couple of years for me.

"My form has been good and I've earned the contract, so I'm delighted to stay for another year. And hopefully there could be a few more years after this."

The central defender, who has retired from England duty, lifted the Capital One Cup with Chelsea on March 1 – his 13th major honour with the Blues – and hopes to add the Premier League title.

Chelsea entered the international break with a six-point advantage over nearest rivals Manchester City and with a game in hand.

"Hopefully there's many more (trophies)," added Terry.

"That's a massive part of why I'm staying. I want to win trophies. I want to remain in the side, of course, and for me to get to 14 (trophies), 15, that's my target.

"We're very close at the moment. We still need to get over the line. It's going to be tough. The Hull game (a 3-2 win last weekend) showed how tough it's going to be.

"To get that big one at the end of the season would be fantastic. Then we can regroup and go again next year. I'm delighted to be here and hopefully there's going to be many more."

Terry has made 661 appearances for the Blues, scoring 63 goals and winning the Champions League, Europa League, three Premier League titles and five FA Cups.

Asked if he could close in on Ron Harris' club record of 795 appearances, Terry added: "I didn't think it was possible. I'm not sure now. It's still a long way.

"Lamps (Frank Lampard) is not here any more. It's down to me to hopefully stay fit, stay in the team and hopefully there will be more contracts to enable me to get closer."