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Brady on fire in Under-21 victory

Republic of Ireland Under-21       2-1     Austria Under-21
Robert Brady 72, 90+1 pen                         Raphael Holzhauser 68

 

The Republic of Ireland Under-21s warmed up for the upcoming UEFA Championship qualifiers by coming from behind to defeat Austria at the Showgrounds in Sligo tonight (Tuesday).

 

While Ireland showed the more attacking force, they slipped behind on 68 minutes but battled back to triumph courtesy of a Robert Brady brace. He headed the equaliser on 72 minutes before slamming home a stoppage-time penalty.

 

Noel King's side open their qualifying series by hosting Hungary on September 1, also in Sligo, and this encounter marked the final warm-up before the competitive series.

 

There was much anticipation in the crowd about the appearance of Manchester United's Robbie Brady, who made his full debut last Friday for on-loan club Hull City in the English Championship.

 

Just three minutes had elapsed when Brady sold his full-back a dummy and fired a left-foot shot which Austria goalkeeper Heinz Lindner turned around the post for a corner.

 

Leeds United winger Aidan White, one of two Under-21 debutants in King's starting line-up, almost profited from one of Brady's surging runs shortly after only for Lindner to advance and gather the low right-wing delivery.

 

Plenty of running was required of Ireland's lone striker Aaron Doran in the opening 45 minutes and the Inverness attacker nearly got his reward four minutes before the break when he turned his marker and drove a shot off the crossbar.

 

The Irish defence were rarely threatened in the first half, aside from a couple of hesitant moments by Ireland goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin.

 

A mix between the recently-signed MK Dons stopper and Gavin Gunning was seized upon Stefan Hierlander yet he couldn't finish from the edge of the box.

 

King changed things by introducing five substitutes at the break and Brady remained the most dangerous of Ireland's outlets.

 

Five minutes after the restart, the Dubliner embarked on a dribble from his own penalty area which was only thwarted a last-ditch block eight yards out.

 

With Ireland seemingly in control, they were hit by an Austrian opener following the award of a debatable bious free-kick on 68 minutes.

 

Mark Connolly appeared to make a clean tackle on substitute Christoph Kropfl but a free-kick awarded by Referee Arnold Hunter enabled VfB Stuttgart first-teamer Raphael Holzhauser to curl his effort around the defensive wall and past goalkeeper Aaron McCarey who had come on at the interval.

 

The Irish required some impetus and it arrived four minutes later. Brady fed White on the left and ghosted into the box to meet the winger's cross with his head and guide it into the top corner.

 

It looked like Austria would nick it two minute from full-time as substitute Dario Tadic was presented with an open goal from a rebound but he scuffed wide.

 

Ireland responded with their last attack and when Michael Holzmann tripped Brady as he veered towards goal, the same player dusted himself down to convert from twelve yards by sending Lindler the wrong way.

 

Rep of Ireland: McLoughlin (MK Dons); Connolly (Bolton), Kiernan (Wigan Athletic), Canavan (Scunthorpe United), Gunning (Blackburn Rovers); Clifford (Chelsea), Towell (Celtic), Hendrick (Derby County); Brady (Hull City), Doran (Inverness CT), White (Leeds United).
Subs: McCarey (Wolves) for McLoughlin, Oyebanjo (York City) for Canavan, Mason (Cardiff City) for Clifford, Stevens (Shamrock Rovers) for Gunning, Duffy (Everton) for Hendrick (all 46 mins), Greene (Sligo Rovers) for White (73 mins), Kearns (Dundalk) for Doran (80 mins)

Austria: Lindner; Zwierschitz, Karner, Hinteregger, Hart; Hierlander, Holzhauser, Hopfer, Drazan; Schwab, Elsneg.
Subs: Tadic for Schwab, Schopf for Hopfer (both 46 mins), Gregoritsch for Drazan, Kropfl for Elsneg (63 mins), Holzmann for Zwierschitz, Sollbauer for Karner (75 mins)

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Northern Ireland). 

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