Dominant Irish defeated by fortunate England
England U19 1 - 0 Republic of Ireland U19
Dean Parrett 37
The Republic of Ireland U19 side were narrowly defeated 1-0 by England in the opening game of the UEFA elite qualifying phase in Kiev today. The winning goal was struck in the 37th minute by Dean Parrett but it was the ‘Boys in Green' who controlled the game for large periods and they will feel unlucky that they did not get a positive result from a game which they, in truth, deserved.
Sean McCaffrey's team started the stronger of the both sides and Ireland had the game's first opportunity after nine minutes when Conor Henderson fed the ball to Manchester United's Robbie Brady on the left wing but his powerful shot went just to the left of Declan Ruud's goal.
Brady (pictured right) was in inspiring form as he caused England's defence all kinds of problems and he came close once again in the 18th minute when Irish striker, Harrison Crawford claimed the ball just outside England's box and he played it into space for Brady and with a quick turn of pace, he skipped away from his marker but his shot was blocked by England's keeper, Declan Ruud to concede a corner.
England's goal came from a free-kick from Tottenham Hotspur's Dean Parrett when Wolves defender, John Dunleavy was adjudged to have fouled Philip Jones just at the edge of Ireland's box. Parrett made no mistake from 20 yards as his stunning shot hit the underside of the crossbar and nestled into the back of the net, giving Mervue United goalkeeper, Ger Hanley no chance.
Ireland started the second half in similar fashion to the first as they looked to make their dominance count on the scoreboard. The Irish back four of John Dunleavy, Richie Towell, Sean McGinty and Shane McEleney were in inspirational form as they comfortably dealt with England's large attacking threat.
Robbie Brady was again involved heavily in Ireland's attack in the second half and he came agonisingly close in the 48th minute when Conor Henderson played a quick corner to the Manchester United midfielder and he struck his shot first time but the effort went whizzing to the right of the post.
Midfielder, Conor Hourihane came to within centimeters of grabbing the equaliser in the 65th minute when the ball was squared to the Sunderland midfielder at the edge of England's box but his directed shot rattled the crossbar, much to the relief of England's goalkeeper who was helpless to save the effort.
The Irish were now fully in command in attack as they went in search of the elusive equaliser and in the 70th minute, substitute Daniel Kearns made a clever run down the right wing and he clipped the ball to Brady who let fly from 25 yards as the ball went agonisingly wide once again.
In the final seconds, England almost added insult to injury with another goal as England substitute, Andros Townsend, made a darting run down the right wing and he smashed the ball towards goal from a tight angle and the ball cannoned off Ger Hanley's post before the referee blew the full-time whistle.
McCaffrey's side will now take on defending European Champions, Ukraine on Friday, May 28 in a must win game for the Irish if they are to retain their hopes of qualification to the UEFA Championship finals this summer.
Republic of Ireland: Ger Hanley, Richard Towell, John Dunleavy, Sean McGinty, Shane McEleney, Conor Hourihane, Conor Clifford, Ronan Murray, Conor Henderson, Robert Brady, Harrison Crawford.
Substitutes: Ian McLoughlin, Daniel Kearns (on for Ronan Murray, 46 mins), Shaun Timmins, Stephen McDonnell, Andrew Boyle, Ian McLoughlin, James Keohane (on for Conor Henderson, 86 mins), Karl Sheppard (on for Harrison Crawford, 46 mins).
Referee: Liran Liany (Israel)
UEFA Under-19 Championship Elite Stage Qualifiers:
Wednesday, May 26
England 1-0 Republic of Ireland
FFU Training complex, Kiev
Friday, May 28
Republic of Ireland v Ukraine (4pm)
Monday, May 31
Bosnia-Herzegovina v Republic of Ireland (4pm)
FFU Training complex, Kiev.