Late comeback by U23s not enough against England
Under-23 International Challenge Trophy
Republic of Ireland 1-2 England
Paddy Madden 67 Andrew Fleming 27
Max Porter 63
England got the upper hand over the Republic of Ireland in tonight's match at the Waterford RSC thanks to a goal in each half.
The visitors were two goals to the good by the time substitute Paddy Madden replied for the Irish.
That goal on 67 minutes sparked a revival by Paul Doolin's side but they were unable to capitalise on their territorial advantage and grab an equaliser.
A positive start from the Irish suggested that they had enough quality to collect the victory from this fixture as James Chambers set up Ronan Finn for an early chance, but the midfielder's touch was too heavy and the ball got away from him at the crucial time.
Then Paul Byrne just missed out on connecting with a superb cross from Ross Gaynor as the hosts turned on the style in the opening passage of play in front of a strong crowd.
But England had arrived with a gameplan and some good players. One of those, Andrew Fleming, smashed a header against the crossbar after a fine cross from Sean Newton.
Fleming then broke the deadlock on 27 minutes when he picked up a loose ball in midfield following a mistake by Ireland captain Stephen O'Donnell and cooly slotted in from the edge of the penalty area.
Ireland did respond well to that set-back with Finn having a shot blocked and Billy Dennehy blasting over as Doolin's youngsters streamed forward in search of an equalisier.
However, they fell further behind on 63 minutes when Max Porter scored from close range following a flick on from Tom Cadmore after he rose highest to meet Fleming's corner.
That goal came against the run of play as it was the Irish who looked the more threatening and they fully deserved their goal when Gary McCabe played a delightful ball through to fellow substitute Paddy Madden, who fired in a left-footed strike.
Padraig Amond could have levelled matters when he broke free in the closing minutes, but the Sligo Rovers forward drilled his shot wide rather than across the face of the goal.
A spirited performance from the Irish came up just short as an impressive England side collected a deserved win to boost their chances of progressing further in the competition.
Republic of Ireland U23: Quigley; Mulcahy, Breen, Browne (Kelly 36), Powell; Gaynor (McCabe 59), Finn (Amond 86), O'Donnell (Bolger 64), Chambers, Dennehy; Byrne (Madden h/t).
Substitutes Not Used: Duggan, Fitzgerald.
England U23: Roberts; Densmore, Cadmore, Gregory, Newtown; Morgan-Smith (Obeng 81), McFadzean, Fleming (Jarvis 74), Porter (Hall 84); Deering (Rodman 90), Barnes-Homer.
Substitutes Not Used: Mimms, Saah, Garner.
Referee: Alan Kelly (Cork)