Republic of Ireland U-21 1-2 Denmark U-21
The Republic of Ireland didn't get the result their performance deserved tonight at Tallaght Stadium when Denmark scored a 73rd minute winner from the penalty spot to claim victory.
As an exercise to warm-up for next Monday's vital UEFA qualifier against Italy at the Showgrounds in Sligo, this was very worthwhile for Ireland coach Noel King..
Under-21 debuts were handed to starters John Egan and Eunan O'Kane, with the pair impressing on a night the Irish created enough chances to at least have got a draw.
Both teams took time to click in the first half and the first chance arrived in the 18th minute when striker Rhys Murphy shot straight at Nicolai Oppen Larsen when O'Kane fed him a pass from midfield.
Aidan White was next to try his luck from distance only to see his rising effort on the run clear the crossbar.
Ireland thought they'd taken the lead on the half hour. Robbie Brady shimmied past his marker in a central position and struck a shot from 30 yards which clipped off Murphy and rattled the net. Unfortunately, Murphy was in an offside position.
Eight minutes into the second half and Ireland did nudge ahead. Murphy swept past
Jannick Vestergaard and charged towards the penalty area, drawing a foul from the defender in the process which earned a free-kick in a central area.
Up stepped Brady to execute a set-piece with stunning precision as his curler sailed over the defensive wall and high into the top corner for the opener.
Ireland barely had time to savour that goal when they found themselves pegged back.
Vestergaard forced himself into the action at the other end as he earned a free-kick 25 yards out off when Greg Cunningham was penalised for a challenge.
Denmark captain Mads Albaek lofted the effort and it clipped off an Irish defender in the wall to divert the ball and gave Ian McLoughlin no chance.
The visitors forged ahead through another Albaek goal, this time from the penalty spot.
An aerial ball into the box was contested by Mikkel Kirkesov and Brady - and as the pair fell to the ground, Referee Kevin Clancy awarded a spot-kick. McLoughlin went the right way but Albaek's attempt had too much power and found the bottom right corner.
Ireland had a penalty shout of their own denied seven minutes from the end when Aidan White was bundled over by Erik Sviatschenko.
Substitute Conor Clifford went close too, lofting a free-kick over the bar but the Danes held on for victory.
Republic of Ireland: I. McLoughlin (MK Dons); J. Egan (Sunderland), S. Duffy (Everton), N. Canavan (Scunthorpe Utd), G. Cunningham (Manchester City); J. Hendrick (Derby County), R. Towell (Celtic), E. O'Kane (Torquay United); A. White (Leeds United), R. Murphy (Unattached), R. Brady (Manchester United).
Subs: C. Clifford (Chelsea) for Hendrick, C. Hourihane (Plymouth) for O'Kane, J. Collins (Shrewsbury Town) for Murphy (all 55 mins), A. McCarey (Wolves) for McLoughlin, R. Murray (Ipswich Town) for Brady (both 77).
Denmark: Oppen Larsen; Gundelach, Sviatschenko, Vestergaard, Kadrii; Laudrup, Christiansen, Albaek, Larsen; Sloth, Helenius.
Subs: Heogh for Vestergaard, Kirkesov for Sloth (both 58), Makienok for Helenius (64), Anderson for Christiansen, Pedersen for Kadrii and Kusk for Laudrup (all 82)
Referee: Kevin Clancy (Scotland).
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