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Šturmová twins inspire Czech success

Twins Eliska and Adéla Šturmová scored eight goals between them as the Czech Republic topped Group 2, first place sealed with a 2-0 defeat of 2010 runners-up the Republic of Ireland.

Eliska Šturmová (No7) and twin Adéla (No15) join the celebrations after Nikola Danihelková's opener against Ireland
Eliska Šturmová (No7) and twin Adéla (No15) join the celebrations after Nikola Danihelková's opener against Ireland ©Sportsfile

The Czech Republic beat last season's runners-up the Republic of Ireland to first place in UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship first qualifying round Group 2 thanks to deadly twin sisters Eliska and Adéla Šturmová.

Between them they scored eight of the Czech Republic's 13 goals in wins against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, hosts Northern Ireland and the Republic. Eliska contributed the second in the 2-0 win against Ireland, who only lost on penalties to Spain in the 2010 decider four months ago but have now seen their hopes of another long run extinguished.

"I am very pleased for Eliska and Adéla," Czech coach Petr Čermák said. "I coach them at Sparta Praha so it was very satisfying to see both sisters contribute with so many goals. Overall, I am delighted to top what was a very demanding group. We scored a lot of goals and we also kept three clean sheets. We knew the Republic of Ireland would be very difficult opponents in our final group game, but we came out on top. I am very proud."

His team got their campaign off to the best possible start when they defeated FYROM 8-0 in the opening round of group games, Nikola Danihelková scoring twice and Simona Necidová adding another before the Šturmovás took over, Adéla claiming two and half-time substitute Eliska getting a hat-trick. Meanwhile Ireland defeated their Northern counterparts with a 76th-minute goal from Rianna Jarrett, one of three of last season's finals squad in their lineup.

Two days later Čermák's side defeated the hosts 3-0, both Šturmovás scoring along with Danihelková, while Ireland beat FYROM 4-0, Clare Shine striking twice and Katie McCabe and Shauna Newman also on target. However, Ireland's hopes were ended by Danihelková and Eliska Šturmová's second-half goals in the decider in Lurgan.

Northern Ireland completed their campaign with a 4-0 win against FYROM in Portadown, captain Simone Magill scoring an impressive hat-trick. Midfielder Nicole Connolly was also on target for Niall Curneen's side who celebrated Northern Ireland's first competitive win at this level having ended a two-year absence from the tournament. "I am delighted the girls' efforts have been rewarded with a win – it is proof we are making progress at this level," said Curneen.