Republic of Ireland U19s draw with Czechs in friendly
PAUL DOOLIN'S Republic of Ireland U19 side produced an impressive second half display as they drew with the Czech Republic in an entertaining friendly at Flancare Park, Longford.
The game was switched from the original Athlone venue following a pitch inspection.
Ireland keeper Danny Rogers impressed throughout and made a decent save to deny Dominik Mašek in the 14th minute.
The visitors took the lead from a 23rd minute spot-kick by Václav Jurečka after Irish skipper Pierce Sweeney was unlucky to be penalised for a challenge on Petr Ševčik.
Sean Maguire was denied by Czech keeper Jan Kotnour in the 32nd minute after good work in the build-up by Adam Evans.
Bradley Garmston made an exciting burst into the Czech penalty area in the 41st minute but he opted to square the ball when a shot was on and the chance to level was passed up.
The Irish did level within the opening minute of the second half when Evans found the head of Sam Byrne and he steered the ball home with his head.
Sweeney was then denied by the crossbar when he got his head to a 47th minute corner by Kieran Sadlier, one of Ireland's most impressive performers on the night.
Rogers made another top class save to keep out a strike from Ondřej Karafiát in the 53rd minute then got up to make two further saves from Petr Ševčik before the Irish defence eventually cleared.
One minute later Brandon Miele drew an excellent save from Kotnour with a rasping drive over 30 yards out and then Byrne passed up a great chance to put the Irish ahead when he shot wide from an Evans cut-back in the 56th minute.
Miele produced another long range blast in the 65th minute that Kotnour dived full length to parry and in the 81st minute Miele rattled the crossbar with a thumping strike after excellent build-up play by Kenny McEvoy.
In injury-time Sadlier got his head to a Garmston cross but Kotnour made another top notch save and the Czechs were then also denied a winner when Rogers kept out an effort by František Liška.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Danny Rogers; Jason Keane, Bradley Garmston, Pierce Sweeney (c), Steven Smith, Kieran Sadlier, Brandon Miele, Luke Gallagher, Sam Byrne, Sean Maguire, Adam Evans. SUBS: Kenneth McEvoy for Maguire 42 mins; Ryan McConnell for Keane 55; Paul George for Evans 76; Kealan Dillon for Miele 83.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Jan Kotnour; Jan Filip, Ondřej Karafiát, Aleš Čermák (c), Dominik Mašek, Václav Jurečka, Michal Trávník, Matěj Hýbl, Petr Ševčik, Jan Štěrba, Roman Wermke. SUBS: Petr Nerad for Ševčik 46; Jan Shejbal for Wermke 46; František Liška for Jurečka 72; Oldřich Byrtus for Ševčik 77; Stefan Simič for Mašek 88.
REFEREE: Brendan Kelly.