Early goals settle it for Serbia U17s against Ireland
Republic of Ireland Under-17 0-2 Serbia Under-17
Nikola Sakic 7, Veljko Simic 15
The Republic of Ireland Under-17s lost their opening match of the campaign tonight at Ferrycarrig Park in Wexford when Serbia netted two early goals without reply.
In the first game of this week's friendly double-header, John Morling's Irish side started brightly but fell behind on seven minutes.
Nikola Sakic was given too much time and space inside the box to shoot from ten yards and, though Ireland goalkeeper Eric Grimes blocked the effort, the Serbia captain was on hand to convert the rebound himself.
Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic was busy for the next five minutes with the pick of his stops coming from a Gary O'Neill drive from ten yards which he brilliantly pushed away.
Just as Ireland began to settle, they were hit with a second goal on 15 minutes. Veljko Simic profited from a fortunate deflection inside
the box to beat Grimes with a rising volley into the top corner.
Ireland remained lively in attack with Jack Grealish, Sam Byrne and Dylan McGlade getting more change out of the Serbia defence
approaching the break.
O'Neill nearly halved the arrears before the interval only for Nemanja Jaksic to clear the close-range effort.
The second half saw Ireland enjoy plenty more possession and produced a number of chances.
Dylan Hayes dipped a volley just wide midway through the second half while debutant Conor Wilkinson was fractionally off-target with a
header from Kevin O'Connor's right-wing cross.
The nations meet again on Thursday at 12 noon.
Republic of Ireland: Grimes (Leeds United); Whittle (De la Salle), D. O'Reilly (Fulham), McFadden (Norwich City), Coyne (Cherry Orchard); O'Connor (St. Patrick's Athletic), O'Neill (Wolves), Hayes (Derby County); McGlade (Middlesbrough), Byrne (Manchester United), Grealish (Aston Villa).
Subs: Mulroney (Crumlin United) for O'Neill, Wixted (Derby County) for Grealish, Wilkinson (Millwall) for McGlade (all h/t), Leddy (Ipswich Town) for O'Connor (66 mins), Long (Cherry Orchard) for Byrne (72 mins)
Serbia: Serbia: Rajkovic; Jaksic, Sakic, Jovanovic, Zdjelar; Simic, Jokic, Tepic, Jankovic; Spremo, Milosevic.
Referee: Sean Grant.