thumbnail Hello,

Young Boys in Green coach happy with the effort of his players as they snatched a draw against Ciro Ferrara's formidable Italy side

Republic of Ireland under-21 manager Noel King has praised the fighting spirit displayed by his team as they secured a 2-2 draw against Italy at the Sligo Showgrounds to keep their Euro 2013 qualification hopes alive.

Ireland went 1-0 down after three minutes when Everton defender Shane Duffy scored an own goal, before Ciro Immobile scored a long range effort to make it 2-0. However, Ireland won a penalty when Shane Duffy was fouled in the Italian box, which Manchester United winger Robbie Brady duly dispatched.

The Young Boys in Green snatched an equaliser through Manchester City defender Greg Cunningham who made the final score 2-2.

Speaking after the game, Noel King said he believed that his team was in a strong position to make the playoffs for the 2013 Uefa Under-21 European Championship in Israel.

"I think five points would be enough to get a playoff, starting with victory over Turkey at home in August," King told the Irish Examiner. "We’ve got two games in hand over Turkey and they finish their campaign against us here in Sligo needing some points to stay in contention."

He continued: "The lads will take a lot of positives from this performance. We had to keep fighting and, in fairness, to the lads they didn’t surrender.

"Your worry is that when you go to push the game, you might concede three or four but we had to go for it."

Shane Duffy, who started the game on a bad note, was full of praise for his team-mates who helped him regain confidence as the game wore on.

"The lads got me out of hole because I was mentally weak in the first half and didn’t play well at all," said the Everton defender.

Noel King was also proud of his team, believing them to be a good group of players.

"I'm absolutely satisfied," King told RTE. "This group is a fantastic group. There is high spirit amongst them, there is great talent and belief in the squad."