Ireland U19 edged out by Denmark in Sligo
The Republic of Ireland Under-19 side suffered a narrow defeat to Denmark 1-0 in the first of a double-header against the visitors at The Showgrounds in Sligo.
A first-half stoppage time strike by FC Kobenhavn's Ahmed Daghim was enough to seal victory for the Danes in an even contest where both sides had their chances.
Borussia Mönchengladbach's Conor Noß made his first appearance for Ireland while Manchester United’s Harvey Neville, who was also receiving his first call-up, was named as a substitute.
It took until the 18th minute for the first real chance of the game. A misplaced ball in the midfield fell to Denmark and Gustav Morgensen was put through on goal but the Brentford forward couldn’t connect properly following pressure from the Irish defence and Jimmy Corcoran was able to save.
Denmark then had another glorious chance on 25 minutes. Daghim managed to rise highest to flick on a header that beat Corcoran but not the post and Oisin McEntee was able to scramble away the danger.
Ireland’s best chance came just after the half-hour mark. Alex Gilbert was allowed to drift from the right into a shooting position where he unleashed a fierce left-footed drive that just missed the top corner.
The hosts began to grow into the game. The Celtic duo Barry Coffey and Armstrong Oko-Flex exchanged a one-two on the edge of the Danish 18-yard box. Coffey fired his effort low but the Denmark number one made a smart stop to deny the midfielder.
But it was Denmark who took the lead against the run of play on the stroke of half time. A mistake at the back saw Morgensen stride forward into the box and square the ball for Daghim to tap in from close range.
The visitors took that momentum into the second half with Alexander Hjaelmhof proving a danger out wide.
It was late into the game when Ireland tested the Danish goal again. Oko-Flex weaved his way into the box, composed himself before shooting but Defreitas Hansen matched his effort with a smart save. From the resulting corner substitute George Nunn almost made an immediate impact rising to head, but it just cleared the bar for Ireland's final threat of the match.
Speaking after the game Ireland Under-19 Head Coach Tom Mohan praised his players’ attitudes. He said: “We played quite well in periods but it was a sucker punch conceding that goal on the stroke of half time, particularly as we were getting into the game.
“The attitude of the players was very good, there’s a number of very technically gifted players that showed during various periods of the game their ability and perhaps we need to show that more often. If we show that more often we create more chances.”
Mohan also praised the crowd who turned out in their hundreds for the game, he added: “Sligo is a great football town and they’ll always come out and support whatever is going on at The Showgrounds. They got behind the boys and the crowd did their best but unfortunately we couldn’t get that equaliser.”
Republic of Ireland: Corcoran; Sobowale (McGuiness, 65). Ogungbo, McEntee (C) Omobamidele (Nunn, 82); Bowden, Coffey, Noß (Grant, 82) ; Gilbert (Boyce, 82), Oko-Flex Cassidy (Ebosele, 65).
Denmark: Defreitas Hansen; Dyhr (Gundelund, 65), Ross Jensen (C) (Haahr, 65), Anker, Daghim (Taranis, 57); Hjaelmhof (Krog Hansen), Sorensen (Ibrahimagic, 65), Mortensen, Morgensen; Ben Silmane, Sommer Sorensen (Hansen, 79).
Referee: Alan McLoughlin (IRL)
Monday, October 14: Ireland v Denmark, KO 1pm, The Showgrounds, Sligo