Drennan nets hat-trick as U16s draw against Czechs
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U16 3-3 CZECH REPUBLIC U16
Mickey Drennan (3) Svoboda (2)
Mickey Drennan bagged a hat-trick as the Republic of Ireland Under-16s were pegged back three times for a draw against the Czech Republic in Kingspan Centiry Park tonight (Thursday).
After winning the first match of the double-header 2-1 on Tuesday, Ireland looked on course for another victory but the visitors snatched a last-minute leveller.
Brandon Miele set the tone for a storming start by Ireland in the first minute when he latched onto Mickey Drennan's cross from the left and hooked a low shot on the turn wide.
An invigorated Ireland went ahead following their next move on six minutes. Full-back John Kavanagh raided down the flank and crossed to the far post where Drennan arrived on cue to power a downward header past Jan Kotnour in the Czech goal.
Captain Jamie Smith could have extended the advantage shortly after when Kotnour allowed a right-wing cross slip from his grasp. The Irish defender couldn't get a proper connection on the loose ball and the ‘keeper recovered in time to block the effort.
Lobos Horacek almost levelled but his angled shot flew just wide of Ian Lawlor's right post and the goalkeeper produced a terrific save on the half hour to tip a free-kick by Petr Nerad over the bar.
The visitors kept the pressure on until the break and conjured an equaliser in stoppage time. Patrick Svoboda embarked on a mazy run from the half-way line towards the Irish box and, despite having his initial shot blocked, he followed up to lash home the rebound from ten yards.
Svoboda continued to pose a threat in attack and raced clear on goal eight minutes into the second half. Defender Joe O'Brien matched him for pace and got a nick on the striker's shot which Lawlor stooped low to foil.
Ireland then took a stranglehold and ten minutes after Kieran Sadlier saw his shot sail wide, the West Ham United striker was wrestled down on the edge of the box on the hour. Referee Neil Doyle awarded a free and Mickey Drennan stepped up to rifle a low shot around the wall and into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later, the tie was back level when Svoboda rose unopposed eight yards out to plant a header into the corner.
The action continued to intensify and Ireland regained the lead for the third time with seven minutes left from the penalty spot. Jan Filip was adjudged to have handled a cross by Kealan Dillon in the box and Drennan completed his hat-trick with a powerful spot-kick which Kotnour got a hand to.
With time just up, however, the Czechs plundered another goal to make it 3-3 as substitute Lukas Julis turned in a cross by Svoboda for the last act of a six-goal thriller.
REP OF IRELAND: Ian Lawlor (Home Farm); John Kavanagh (Ringmahon Rangers), Joseph O'Brien (Salthill Devon), , Jamie Smith (Cherry Orchard), Stephen Smith (Arsenal); Brandon Miele (Cherry Orchard), Paul Devereux (St. Josephs Boys), Kealan Dillon (Belvedere), Michael Drennan (Evergreen); Carel Tiofack (Ballincollig AFC); Kieran Sadlier (West Ham United).
Substitutes: Sami Ade Osobe (Glenmuir Utd) for Devereux (51), Eoin Hyland (Belvedere FC) for O'Brien (62), Philip Roberts (Norwich City) for Tiofack and Kenny McEvoy (Villa) for Miele (both 68)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Jan Kotnour; Jan Filip, Jan Sterba, Ales Cermak, Michal Holub (Pavel Jarina 46), Michael Luftner, Pavel Marianus (Nikolas Salasovic 55), Petr Nerad, Jan Shejbal, Lubos Horacek (Lukas Julis 66), Patrick Svoboda (Mirolslav Verner 80).
REFEREE: Neil Doyle.