THE Republic of Ireland’s UEFA Regions' Cup representatives - Region 2, made up of players from Connaught and Munster - will contest the tournament final on Sunday after a brilliant 4-1 win against Olomouc in Istanbul today.
Westport United's David Hoban did not play today after starting Region 2's previous two group matches.
Against Olomouc, Eoin Hayes struck either side of half-time as Gerry Davis’s side got the three points they needed and Spanish representatives Castilla y León went from 2-0 up to surprisingly lose 3-2 to Russia side South Region in the other group game.
Clare’s Stephen Kelly had opened the scoring after steering the ball home following a Jimmy Carr corner but Olomouc's Petr Navrátil levelled 10 minutes before the break.
Hayes then showed his finishing qualities to restore the Irish lead just four minutes later and then turned the ball home after getting in behind the Czech defence six minutes into the second half.
Carr then capped an excellent individual display with a brilliant individual goal in the 83rd minute.
This will be the third time an Irish side will appear in the final after Eastern Region captured the trophy two years ago in Dublin while Leinster & Munster were unfortunate to lose out in the final in Portugal in 2011.
A thrilled Davis said he thanked all the players, staff and officials for the 'monumental effort' to get the final once the final whistle sounded.
“We’ve worked so hard to cope with the conditions and every single person involved has contributed,” he said.
Looking forward to Sunday's final, he added: “We’re just trying to get our breath back. The players are all in recovery mode. The players were in the cold pool an hour after the game. We’ll look at the few knocks and niggles then turn our heads to a European final on Sunday.”