Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Conor Coventry hoping Ireland U21s can seal maiden finals spot with Italy scalp

Republic of Ireland midfielder Conor Coventry (centre) is targeting victory in Italy (Brian Lawless/PA)
Republic of Ireland midfielder Conor Coventry (centre) is targeting victory in Italy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Conor Coventry does not want to be cast in the role of “nearly man” as the Republic of Ireland attempt to qualify for the European Under-21s Championship finals for the first time.

Ireland face a winner-takes-all battle with Group F leaders Italy in Ascoli on Tuesday afternoon with a play-off place already secured, but automatic qualification still up for grabs in their final fixture.

However, West Ham midfielder Coventry insists all their efforts will count for little if they do not make it to the finals.

He said: “We don’t want to be a team that nearly did it or got so close, we want to qualify. We’d love to do it here on Tuesday – that’s the aim.

“We’re coming here to win, we’re not coming here to have a good game or to practise anything for a play-off, we’re coming here to win.

“When you look at the campaign as a whole, there have been a few times that we were maybe written off after certain results and people were saying we wouldn’t be in this position.

“We always believed we could and we’re here now, so we have nothing to lose.”

Ireland head into the game two points adrift of the Italians, who won 2-0 at Tallaght Stadium in the reverse fixture in November, and that is a remarkable achievement considering nine men who would otherwise available to manager Jim Crawford have been called into the senior squad by predecessor Stephen Kenny.

Gavin Bazunu, Troy Parrott, Nathan Collins, Festy Ebosele, Jason Knight and Michael Obafemi were all included in Kenny’s initial 27-man party for this month’s Nations League fixtures, while Aaron Connolly, Adam Idah and Andrew Omobamidele might have been but for injury.

Italy’s 1-1 draw in Sweden on Thursday handed Crawford’s men their chance to snatch top spot, and he has challenged his players to pile on the misery.

He said: “They probably feel a little bit hard done by, that the group should be finished with now, but it’s given us a great opportunity now to go and seek revenge.

“They’re favourites, but it’s going to be a big game, a hell of a game tomorrow. Look, we’ll be prepared. The players know what’s at stake and they’re looking forward to it, they really are.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]