Ireland U17s draw with Malta in mini-tournament

Ireland U17s draw with Malta in mini-tournament

THE Republic of Ireland U17 side drew 1-1 with Malta at an invitational tournament in Telki, Hungary, this afternoon.
7th Aug 2014

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Malta

THE Republic of Ireland U17 side drew 1-1 with Malta at an invitational tournament in Telki, Hungary, this afternoon.

Tom Mohan's side scored a 73rd minute equaliser through Conor Levingston after Malta had scored from a deflected effort in the first half.

The Maltese started the game at a good tempo and put pressure on the Irish defence but the new Irish back four where very solid to subdue their opponents' attack.

Ireland were unfortunate not to open the scoring in the 13th minute with a free-kick that grazed the Maltese crossbar.

Three minutes later Malta scored after a counter-attack which ended with an effort that took an awkward deflection from and looped over goalkeeper and into the Irish net.

Ireland came close to levelling a number of times and in the 32th minute Trevor Clarke drew an impressive save from Malta keeper Tim Aquilina.

The Irish upped the tempo after the break and Malta appeared to have all 11 men inside their own half for most of the second half.

After Mohan made some changes to their personnel they increased the pressure. In the 62nd minute Josh Barrett had a goal disallowed for offside.

The sustained pressure on the Malta goal led to an equaliser after an impressive 14 pass move with Levingston getting on the end of the 73rd minute cross to steer home.

Ireland looked to snatch a winner but it never came with Conor Davis having a penalty claim rejected in the 78th minute.

"We made seven changes from the first game but we created so many chances and had to keep going right to the end to equalise. The performance was really good and the players should understand that the way we played was very good," said Mohan.

"We kept passing it and were patient but we created numerous opportunities and weren't effective enough in front of goal. Conor was calm to finish it off to level but we must have created more than 15 chances.

"Obviously you want to win these games but it's been a good learning curve for us and we've seen everybody. We learn a lot about the players in these games. We'll turn our mind to the Serbia game on Saturday but all these games are about preparing for the UEFA qualifiers in September."

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Caoimhin Kelleher, Robin Walsh (Conor Masterson 20), Trevor Clarke (Josh Barrett 55), Jonathan Lunney, Jake Doyle-Hayes, Avis Ganiyu (Conor Levingston 65), Jean Yves Poame (Brandon Payne 41), Darragh Leahy, Conor Davis, Louis Dunne (Zachary Elbouzedi 55), Shane Hanney.


Tuesday, August 5
U17 Invitational Tournament
Hungary 1-0 Republic of Ireland, Dorog

Thursday, August 7
U17 Invitational Tournament
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Malta, Telki

Saturday, August 9
U17 Invitational Tournament
Republic of Ireland v Serbia, Telki (2.30pm)

Meanwhile Ireland's U16 select played two games at the Macron Galway Cup today. They drew 2-2 with Scunthorpe United and beat Ipswich Town 4-2.

Tom O'Connor's side face Maccabi Haifa and US side DC United tomorrow.

"It's been three interesting games so far. Three different styles of play. Ipswich were an excellent passing team but once we got to grips with that we created a lot of chances. Chivas were another quick passing team but although we didn't play particularly well once we settled we probably nicked that one," said O'Connor.

"The Scunthorpe game we created a lot of chances, hit the post then we fell 2-1 down but carved out an equaliser. We've two different style opponents again tomorrow and we're looking forward to it.

"The tournament has been great for the players to sample some testing games with different styles which the players will learn from. It's been a great learning experience. Everything has been very well organised."

Friday August 8
Macron Galway Cup
Republic of Ireland U16 v Maccabi Haifa (10.40am);
Republic of Ireland U16 v DC United (5.55pm)