MATCH REPORT | Basque Region 1-0 Ireland Amateur International Team
Ireland’s Amateur International team suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat away to the Basque Region as they picked up preparations for the Regions Cup in June in Bilbao on Tuesday night.
Despite the hosts playing with ten men for much of the second half, a Julen Huidobro goal just before half-time gave them the win in a fiercely contested game at Barakaldo’s Estadio de Lasesarre.
The Basques nearly took the lead after seven minutes when Jon Urzika headed just over after a fine cross from Benat Leiza.
Jordan Buckley could have had the visitors in front on 10 minutes but the onrushing Ibon Gonzalez closed the Usher man down in the box.
Victor Isuskiza forced a brilliant save from Brendan O’Connell on 15 minutes as the Basques began to get a foothold in the game. Indeed, the candidly named Unai Arietaleanizbeaskoa brought the best out of O’Connell just moments later from close range when it was easier to score.
Glen Daly went closest in the first half to putting Ireland ahead when he latched onto a Buckley cut back from a set-piece but his shot was saved by Gonzalez in the Basque net.
The hosts then took the lead just before half-time when Julen Huidobro fired home home from close range after a well worked move down the Irish right-hand side.
Oier Del Cura got sent off for the Basques only a couple of moments after he came at the restart when Simon Falvey was taken down as he came one-on-one with the keeper.
Ireland put pressure on the Basques in the next phase of the game but it was substitute Ewan Lee who made a goal-saving tackle preventing the Basques from scoring on the counter in the 70th minute.
The Irish had the ball in the net from a corner on 75 minutes after Jimmy McHugh looked to have headed home but the referee adjudged a free out in the melee.
Aaron Humphries came closest to an equaliser for Ireland on 80 minutes when he found himself free in the box but his header was just narrowly wide.
The sides were levelled up numerically after Simon Falvey was sent off for a challenge during a Basque breakaway on 85 minutes and the visitors were unable to equalise as the referee blew up a tight game in Bilbao.
Republic of Ireland: Brendan O’Connell (Gary Cunningham 45), Adam Conway, Karl Melling, Glen Daly (Jack Funge 60’), Jack Mcmullen (Ewan Lee 60’), Danny Ahearne (Lee Delaney 45’), Alan McGreal (Aaron Humphries 60’), Stephen Chambers (Nathan Broderick 45’), Eoin Murphy (Simon Falvey 45’), Jordan Buckley (Jimmy McHugh 60’), Luke Casey (Conor Coughlan 45’). Subs: Ewan Lee
Basque Region: Ibon González, Iker Pedernales, Beñat Leiza, Mikel López, Julen Echaniz, Ekaitz Molina, Jon Urkiza, Julen Huidobro, Xabier Cortezón, Victor Isuskiza, Unai Arietaleanizbeaskoa. Subs: Sugoi Soto, Unai Llorente, Oier Del Cura, Aitor Morcillo, Ibai Quintana, Alain Arreitunandia, Julen Aramendi, Jagoba Erdocia, Jon Arruabarrena