Irish Schools draw with Australia in Whitehall
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Australia
Paddy O’Reilly’s side produced a solid display against the touring Aussies, who celebrate their national holiday today.
Conor Melody had the game’s first chance in the seventh minute when he headed over from a George Pounton corner and three minutes later a low strike from Jacob Minett tested Irish keeper Lee McCarron who saved well.
Ireland took the lead in the 23rd minute when the impressive George Poynton ran onto a flick by Conor Ellis and raced through to slot the ball past advancing keeper Sam Brown.
Brown saved another strike from Melody in the 37th minute as the Irish pushed to extend their lead.
After a raft of changes at the break Australia’s substitute keeper Shaun Catlin showed his quality when he held onto a solid strike from Daire O’Connor just two minutes into the second half.
Catlin brilliantly denied O’Connor once more in a one-on-one situation in the 57th minute after an excellent penetrating pass from Melody sent the Irish midfielder through on goal.
From the resulting corner Ethan Boyle headed back across goal and Paul Murphy was remarkably denied from a matter of inches out by the outstretched arm of Catlin.
Australia equalised less than one minute later. Matthew Millar got behind the home defence and as he shot he was challenged by Dan Tobin. The referee awarded a penalty for the challenge and Millar stepped up to stroke home from the penalty spot.
Mark Buckley was unfortunate not to put Ireland back in front in the 63rd minute when he diverted a low cross from Poynton towards goal and once again it was the impressive Catlin who saved.
Australia could have snatched the victory in the 75th minute when Steve Whyte produced a powerful strike from outside the box that rattled the inside of an Irish upright and the ball was gathered by the grateful home keeper Corey Chambers.
Chambers then made another good save to keep out another decent strike from Whyte less than a minute later.
Neither side could produce a winner and the honours were even at the final whistle. Ireland will kick-off their Centenary Shield campaign against Northern Ireland in Ballinamallard on St Patrick’s Day.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Lee McCarron, Nathan Benson, Dan Tobin, Conor McCarthy, Paul Murphy, Aaron Robinson, George Poynton, Ethan Boyle, Darragh Markey, Conor Ellis, Conor Melody. Subs: Corey Chambers for McCarron 46 mins; Troy Carey for Markey 46; Dylan Watts for Benson 46; Daire O’Connor for McCarthy 46; Jamie Aherne for Melody 61; Oisin Hassett for Boyle 61; Mark Buckley for Ellis 61.
AUSTRALIA: Sam Brown, Reece Caldecourt, Marcus Duncan, Cohan Morris, Bodan Allport, Jacob Minett, Felipe Zapata-Castro, Matthew Millar, Steve White, Lachlan Roberts, Oliver Green. Subs: Shaun Catlin for Brown 46; Jack Fulton for Roberts 46; Dylan Wenzel-Halls for Minett 55; Haris Stamboulidis for Millar 71; Dante Stehn for Zapata-Castro 76; Zac Sfiligoi for Whyte 88.
Ireland Schools captain Aaron Robinson, Australia captain Oliver Green & the referees
Australia team line-up from the game v Irish Schools