Republic of Ireland Under-17Â Â Â Â Â 1-1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Serbia Under-17
Jonathan Leddy 30Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Aleska Bajic 16
The Republic of Ireland Under-17s recorded an encouraging draw against Serbia at Ferrycarrig Park this afternoon, with the focus now switching to next month's Under-17 UEFA Championship first phase qualifiers.
An Ireland side showing nine changes to the line-up which lost two-nil against Serbia on Tuesday started well with their renewed focus on closing down the Serbian midfield paying off as the visitors were afforded little space to roam.
A quick break forward from the home side almost got them in for the first chance, but keeper Uros Matic got to a cross before midfielder Dylan Hayes was able to head it in.
However, it was the Serbians who took the a 16th minute lead when a crossfield pass picked out captain Milan Jokic, who skipped past Thomas Mulroney behind and played the ball into Aleska Bajic. The big striker's first shot was blocked, but he drilled the rebound into the bottom corner.
Ireland responded in a positive manner with the impressive Jonathan Leddy feeding lone frontman Conor Wilkinson, who spun away from his marker and unleashed a shot that was just off target.
Leddy's influence on the game grew as time ticked by and he got the teams back on level terms with a sweet strike. Serbia stopper Matic was penalised for stepping outside his penalty area when taking a kick-out and from the resulting free-kick, Hayes set up Leddy to smash in.
Ireland substitute Jack Grealish was hauled over by Nemanja Jaksic for a penalty but fellow substitute Gary O'Neill could only smack the penalty off the post. In the last minute, Serbia's Milosevic was sent-off folllowing a clash with Mulroney.
Next up for the Irish are first phase qualifiers of the UEFA Under-17 Championship to be played in Kazakhstan from October 18-24. Ireland will take on Liechtenstein, mini-groups host Kazakhstan and Czech Republic aiming for a top-two finish in the group to secure progress into the elite phase.
Republic of Ireland: Fagan (Coventry City); Long (Cherry Orchard), McConnell (Glencar), R. O'Reilly (Stoke City), Finnegan (Doncaster Rovers); McGlade (Middlesbrough), Wixted (Derby County), Leddy (Ipswich Town), Mulroney (Crumlin United); Hayes (Derby County); Wilkinson (Millwall)
Subs: Byrne (Manchester United) for Wixted (h/t), Grealish (Aston Villa) for Wilkinson, O'Neill (Wolves) for McGlade (both 59 mins)
Serbia: Matic; Jaksic, Antanov, Sakic, Zdjelar, Jokic, Jankovic, Spremo, Krivokuca; Karaklajic, Bajic.
Subs: Simic for Karaklajic (52 mins), Lekovic for Sakic, Milosevic for Spremo (both 56 mins), Makaric for Bajic (66 mins).
Referee: Kevin Callanan.
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