Ireland U19s suffer close defeat by Norway in friendly

Republic of Ireland 1 Norway 2

THE Republic of Ireland U19 side suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat by Norway in a friendly international at UCD Bowl this afternoon.

Paul Doolin's side began well and visiting keeper Ole Hermann Opheim made an impressive stop to keep out a powerful strike from midfielder Connor Dimaio in the 13th minute.

Two minutes later Opheim made another impressive stop to parry a similar effort from Conor Wilkinson from the edge of the box.

Unfortunately Norway opened the scoring in the 18th minute when the impressive Bard Finne produced a stunning strike from distance that smashed off the Irish crossbar and Alexander Sorloth reacted first to head home the rebound.

After the break the Irish looked lively and two minutes in Sam Byrne showed great trickery in the penalty area to carve out a chance for himself but the Norwegian keeper saved bravely at his feet.

Byrne was then gifted the equaliser in the 70th minute when Opheim passed the ball straight to Byrne after dealing with a routine back-pass and the Manchester United striker was happy to shoot to the unguarded net.

Norway reacted well to that blow and Jama Omar smashed another strike from the edge of the box off Aaron Myles's crossbar in the 77th minute. From the resulting corner Irish defender Evan Finnegan saw his defensive header strike his own crossbar before rebounding to safety.

Ireland had threatened to produce a winner but instead it was the visitors who clinched the victory in the 84th minute. Towering defender Vergard Bergan burst through to head home following a corner.

The Irish will meet Slovenia in two U19 friendlies in Waterford on Tuesday, September 3 and Thursday, September 5.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Aaron Myles, Se√°n Long, Kyle McFadden (C), Ryan McConnell, Se√°n Coyne, Alan Browne, Adam Wixted (Evan Finnegan 76), Connor Dimaio (Noe Baba 60), Jack Byrne, Conor Wilkinson (Sam Byrne 41), Dean O'Halloran.

NORWAY: Ole Hermann Opheim, Vergard Bergan, Marius Hoibraten, Kent-Are Antonsen (Bjorn Inge Uivik 54), , Kasper Skaanes, Frederik Aursnes (Morien Strand 66), , Iver Fossum, Bard Finne 9Mariin Troen 53), Alexander Sorloth, Jon Hodnemyr, Kamer Qaka (Zymer Bytyqi 66

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