Amateurs beat England in Whitehall
Republic of Ireland 2 England 1
The Republic of Ireland Amateur Team held out for a 2-1 win over England in Whitehall today in what was a very competitive and interesting game of football.
Both teams were delighted at the pristine condition of the pitch at the newly refurbished Home Farm ground and the excellent facilities, coupled with the perfect weather conditions, inspired both teams to play some excellent football.
Ireland started the better and applied pressure on the English defence with Crumlin's Martin Creamer pulling the strings in the middle and Karl Caulfied tested the English keeper on more than one occasion with long range shots, one of which rebounded off the bar midway through the first half. Lee Murphy in goal for Ireland was virtually a spectator in the first 45 minutes as England found it difficult to break down the Irish back four of Hoey, Walsh, Murray and Cherry.
Ireland opened the scoring on the half-hour when the English keeper Fletcher was caught flapping at a cross and captain James Walsh was on hand to head in from under the bar to give Ireland a deserved lead and they doubled it ten minutes later when Killester's Michael Keogh scored directly from a corner that completely deceived the English defence.
The English team seemed to have no answer to the Irish team at that stage and their heads seemed to be dropping as they headed for the half time break two goals down. But, on the stoke of half-time, they got a lifeline when Noel Murray fouled an English player outside the penalty area and Jack Cannon scored a spectacular goal from 25 yards leaving Lee Murphy rooted to the spot.
The second half saw the English gain the upper hand and they dominated for spells with Jamie Mourant proving a thorn in the side for the Irish defence. Ireland manager Gerry Smith made a number of changes in the second half and this did not help the fluid play that Ireland had enjoyed in the first half. Gareth Logan of Malahide Utd and Noel Murray of Tolka Rovers had excellent games for the Irish as did James Walsh and Ken Hoey, who took over the captaincy from James Walsh when was replaced at half-time as he was required by his club, St Michael's, for a game tomorrow.
The sides will meet again in March in the UEFA Regions Cup Qualifying group in San Marino and its probable to say that the line up of both teams will be different as both managers would have been reluctant to show their hands in this friendly international. Gerry Smith did cap a number of players that fall between stools in not having the chance to represent their Country at Amateur level and was a worthwhile exercise from that perspective.
As stated the facilities at the newly refurbished Home Farm were excellent and provide an excellent facility for International matches.
Republic of Ireland: Lee Murphy, Ian Cherry, Ken Hoey, Noel Murray, James Walsh, Martin Creamer, Karl Caulfield, Neil O' Brien, Mark O' Sullivan, Michael Keogh, Gareth Logan. Subs: John Brophy, Christopher Butt, Gavin Mc Dermott, Peter Rogers, Morgan Cranley, Andy Doolan, Keith Dunne. (All used)
England: Craig Flethcher, Matthew Rondel, Jack Cannon, Stuart Andre, Luke Campbell, Jay Reid, Jamie Mourant, Luke Watson, Craig Russell, Joe Murphy, Jamie Savory. Subs: James Scott, James Styles, Russell Le Feuvre, Jay Giles, Charlie Petulla. (All used)
Referee: David Jameson. Assistants: Michael Kennedy and Frank Croasdell. Fourth Official: Paul O' Brien. (All Wicklow).