The Republic of Ireland FFA Schools U-19 Squad got their championship back on track after yesterday's defeat to England with a well earned 3 points against host nation, Northern Ireland.
The Irish quickly got control of the game and began to dominate in midfield, passing well and creating a few early opportunities good defending and goalkeeping by Northern Ireland kept the game level. Irelands young guns were now dominating the game in all areas of the pitch however that elusive goal did not come by the halftime whistle.
The second half began as the first half ended with Ireland on top. The goal was coming and in the 60th minute Alan Lawrence continued his excellent scoring record in this tournament. A great through ball over the top of the Northern Ireland defence from centre back Aaron Parish gave Lawrence the chance to run onto the ball and slot it home.
The Irish took the foot off the pedal for the next 15 minutes which saw the northern Ireland players get on top for the first time in the game. Northern Ireland had two very good opportunities and hit the upright on the 80th minute. This gave the Irish the wake up call they needed and an inspired substitution by head coach Dave Bell saw young Dylan Bradley break the offside trap and confidently scored at the near post.
The Irish pushed on for a third goal to help their goal difference and on 88 minutes Dylan Bradley again broke through and beat the keeper only to see his shot hit the far post and wide. There were great performances by all of the Irish players with most notable performances from Robbie Falvey, Shaun Carroll, and Jonathon Callaghan.
Irelands head coach David Bell had nothing but praise for players. "This group of players are a very young team and we have had to work hard over the past month to try and bring them together and play as a team. We wanted to emulate the success of their predecessors last year and with today's performance we are one step closer to doing this. Every player on that pitch gave everything today and on Thursday will have to repeat this if we are to beat a physically and technically strong Scotland team."
The Irish play their final game tomorrow Thursday 8th April against Scotland at 10am in the Billy Neill Centre of Excellence.
Republic of Ireland: Connor McGovern, Jonathon Callaghan, Shaun Carroll, Aaron Parish, Sean O Doherty, Richard Stilwell, Alan Lawrence, Karl McGrath (for Ger Murphy 75th Minute), Glady Mampuya (Michael Delaney), Robert Falvey, Francis Minogue (for Dylan 65th Minute).
Subs: Graham Fitzgerald, Sean McCauliffe, Michael Delaney, Dylan Bradley, James Corbett, Liam Walsh, Abel Etongo, Ger Murphy, Evan Smith
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