THE Republic of Ireland U21 side suffered an unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Portugal in a game played in wintery conditions at Oriel Park tonight.
With the intermittent snowy breeze whistling around the Dundalk venue it was a testing night for both sides but the two teams produced some decent football.
The Portuguese went ahead on 14 minutes after Francisco Junior smashed home from 12 yards with a brilliant strike after the Irish defence failed to clear a cross from the right.
Home keeper Sean McDermott made an impressive stop to deny Luis Silva in the 36th minute after the midfielder volleyed goalwards from close range.
Sean Murray was in lively form for the Irish and he had a shot saved by Luis Ribeiro in the 41st minute after a free-kick had been half-cleared by the visitors.
The elements played their part in the 58th minute second goal for Portugal. A corner by Aldair skimmed the head of Aiden Oâ€™Brien and ended up in the Irish net for an unfortunate own goal.
Ireland pulled one back when Matt Doherty headed home from a 71st minute Murray corner but despite plenty of effort neither side carve out any further goals.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: McDermott, Doherty, McGinty, O'Connor, Duffy, Ferdinand, Carruthers, Reilly, O'Brien, Murray, Sutherland. Subs: McCarey, Shaughnessy, McHugh, Forrester, O'Sullivan & Forde for McDermott, Duffy, McGinty, Ferdinand and Carruthers 46 mins, Bolger and Burke for Doherty and Murray 72.
PORTUGAL: LuÃs Ribeiro, JoÃ£o Amorim, JosuÃ©, Miguel LourenÃ§o, LuÃs Martins, LuÃs Gustavo, SÃ©rgio Oliveira, LuÃs Silva, JoÃ£o Carvalho, Francisco JÃºnior, Aldair. Subs: Joao Pinto and Pipo for Luis Ribeiro and Carvalho 46; Amorim for Oliveira 52; Vitor Goncalves and Rui Coentao for Francisco Junior and Aldair 65; Frederico Venanco and Vitinha for Joao Amorim and Luis Silva 89.
Referee: Mark Whitby (Wales)
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