Irish beaten in opener

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Football News

Republic of Ireland endured a painful reintroduction to life among the elite as mistakes costs them dearly and they fell to a 3-1 defeat in their European Championship opener against Croatia.

The Republic's first major tournament for a decade and first Euro finals since 1988 may prove a bridge too far as two goals from Mario Mandzukic and one from Nikica Jelavic put their opponents in control of Euro 2012 Group C and left them with a mountain to climb.

Sean St Ledger's header had earlier cancelled out Mandzukic's opener but goalkeeping and defensive errors ultimately proved Ireland's undoing as their 14-match unbeaten run was ended in Poznan.

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Sean St Ledger

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