UEFA Regions' Cup: Irish draw with Spanish side

Eoin Hayes Castilla.jpg

UEFA Regions' Cup: Irish draw with Spanish side

The Republic of Ireland's UEFA Regions' Cup representatives Region 2 drew 0-0 with Spanish side Castilla y León in a tightly fought Group B encounter at Maltepe in Istanbul this afternoon.
3rd Jul 2017

Castilla y León 0-0 Region 2

Gerry Davis's side, which is drawn from Connacht and Munster, had to defend resolutely but came close to breaking the deadlock when an effort from Eoin Hayes struck the woodwork in the 22nd minute.

Castilla y León had won 4-1 against Czech side Olomouc in their opening tie and their double scorer that afternoon Roberto García Puente came close to scoring against the Irish but missed the target twice in the first-half.

Irish keeper Brendan O'Connell made two good saves to deny Álvaro Coque Pérez and García Puente in the second half.

The Spanish came close again late on through Carlos Alonso López and García Puente but they could not find a way past O'Connell and his defence.

Both sides are now locked on four points. The Irish side meets Olomouc on Thursday with the Spanish outfit facing the Russians.

"The Spanish are a really good side. Some of their movement was top drawer and caused us a lot of problems," said Davis.

"It was difficult to get a foothold on the game but we really should have been ahead. Eoin Hayes probably struck the ball too well and hit the bar full on.

"It was 37C degrees again. Our nutrition and hydration work is paying off. It was a struggle and we did lose one or two with the heat which cost us a little bit in terms of making changes but I am very happy with our fitness overall.

"I really feel it was a great performance and arguably the best of what we've produced in my time."

Russia's South Region are on three points after beating Olomouc today and will meet the Spanish looking to win that and hope the Irish slip up.

Davis knows that a lot of outcomes are possible on the final day in the group but his side can only control their own performance. 

"Our first target will be to win the game and that'll be our aim between now and Thursday. We'll rest up and if we can maintain the performance level and win the game then we'll see how things pan out in the other game," he added.

Region 2: Brendan O'Connell, Christopher Higgins, Kenneth Hoey, Stephen Kelly, Mark Horgan, David Stack, Eugene O' Donovan, David Joyce (Brian Murphy 36), Eoin Hayes, David Hoban (James Carr 62), Shane Daly-Butz (Daniel O'Neill 52).

Castilla y León: Ackermann Fabre, Jorge Vegas, Sánchez Caballero, Rodriguez Ramos, García Puente, Rodríguez Álvarez (Del Álamo Cruces 46), Alonso López (Cabral De Barros 67), Alberto Mato, Cruz Rodríguez, Coque Pérez, Perona Funes (Simón Marrodán 77). 

UEFA Regions Cup 2 222.JPG

Ireland line-up from today's game