Ryan Connolly wins it for U19s
Republic of Ireland Under-19 1-0 Ukraine Under-19
Ryan Connolly 54
The Republic of Ireland Under-19s warmed up for their upcoming UEFA Under-19 qualification campaign on Wednesday by defeating Ukraine 1-0 at Frank Cooke Park courtesy of Ryan Connolly's second half winner.
The nations played out a stalemate in the first of this week's double-header friendly on Monday and defences were once again dominant for the most part in the rematch until the 54th minute when the Derby County winger buried the winner.
The Mayo youngster was released into space on the left side of the penalty area following a penetrative burst by substitute Patrick McEleney, who skipped by two defenders before spotting the unmarked Connolly.
He still had work to do but looked up and picked his spot with a low drive which whistled past goalkeeper Artur Dechuk and into the far corner.
Ireland enjoyed the best of the few chances fashioned in the first half. Dundalk midfielder Stephen McDonnell was first to threaten with a 25 yard free kick on five minutes destined for the top corner that the goalkeeper did well to catch.
Striker Michael Rafter was in the thick of it up front and drilled a shot wide of the post but it was only after the introduction of substitute McEleney of Derry City that the Irish stepped up a gear. His cameo of brilliance nine minutes after the resumption proved the difference.
While the visitors were restricted to long range shots, they did have the ball in the net in the final minute as Volodimir Koval slotted home from close range but Referee Richie Winter ruled it out after his assistant's flag was raised for offside.
Republic of Ireland: McCarey (Wolves); O'Connor (Blackburn Rovers), Shaughnessy (Aberdeen), Egan (Sunderland), Osbourne (Drogheda United); McDonnell (Dundalk), Walsh (Shamrock Rovers) Hendrick (Derby County); Horgan (Salthill Devon), Rafter (Colchester United), Connolly (Derby County).
Subs: McDermott (Arsenal) for McCarey, Walker (Wrexham) for O'Connor, Byrne (Leicester City) for Walsh, Irwin (Bolton Wanderers) for Horgan, McEleney (Derry City) for McDonnell (all h/t), Brady (Manchester United) for Rafter (72 mins)
Ukraine squad: Denchuk, Galchuk, Ordets, Noiok, Karavaev, Shabanov, Churko, Calitvintsev, Dolhiy, Budkivskiy, Babenko, Koval, Nasonov, Mochulenko, Ryabusthko.
Referee: Richie Winter (Wicklow)