TOWN pair Michael Collins and James Berrett were today hoping to get the chance to help the Republic of Ireland Under 21s to the final of the Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia.
But Don Givens’ side faced a tough semi-final task against Olympic challengers Australia in Kuala Lumpur.
The Irish route to the last four of the eight-nation event, where all the other teams are Under 23, was sealed when tournament favourites Nigeria ended Iraq’s hopes by beating them 1-0 on Wednesday.
That left Givens’ men level on four points with hosts Malaysia, but they went through thanks to a better goal difference.
The Republic beat Malaysia 3-1 (Collins scored twice), lost 3-1 to Nigeria then drew 1-1 with Iraq in their three Group A games.
Collins featured in all three matches, taking his total of caps to five, while Berrett made his Under 21 debut against Malaysia and also figured against Iraq.
Australia, known as the Olyroos, powered into the semi-finals with Group B wins over Chile, Croatia and Togo.
Chile were second in the section and were taking on Nigeria, who are also building up to the Beijing Olympics, in the other semi.
The final is on Sunday.