Murphy gives U19s first victory of season
Serbia under-19 0-1 Republic of Ireland under-19
David Murphy 32
The Republic of Ireland Under-19s defeated Serbia today (Thursday) in Belgrade thanks to a first-half winner from striker David Murphy.
The Reading striker was one of only three players in the line-up retained from the starting team which lost the first part of the friendly double-header on Tuesday.
One of those newcomers, George Smith, conjured the first chance on 19 minutes which was saved by Filip Pajovic in the hosts' goal.
Kunic should have tested Alan Smith at the other end shortly after with a shot that flew over but Ireland forged ahead just past the half hour.
Smith raided down the right flank and his floated cross seemed an easy catch for Pajovic yet Murphy had other ideas and rose above the goalkeeper to nod the ball home.
Ryan Markey went close to extending the lead shortly after by drilling a low shot wide.
Serbia seized the attacking initiative after the break only to come up against staunch Irish defending.
When they did manage to find openings, goalkeeper Alan Smith repelled them. Nikola Ninkovic, who scored the last goal of Tuesday's victory, was a menace when he came on but Smith denied his effort on 70 minutes and, soon after, the upright saved Ireland from another shot by the same player.
Still, Ireland kept possession well and restricted their hosts to limited efforts in the latter stages as they closed out the contest for an encouraging victory.
The Irish have another double-header scheduled for early September away to Slovenia before negotiating the first phase of UEFA qualifiers from 6-11 October.
Ireland meet Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and mini-group hosts Bulgaria in the quest to grab one of the two places on offer into the elite phase.
Republic of Ireland: A. Smith (Glasgow Rangers); Keane (Manchester United), N. Byrne (Notts Forest), Hoban (Watford), Garmston (West Brom); Glasgow (Arsenal), Dillon (Derby), S. Byrne (Leicester City), G. Smith (Southend United), Markey (Notts Forest); Murphy (Reading).
Subs: McGinty (Manchester United) for Markey (52 mins), O' Brien (Millwall) for Murphy (64 mins), George (Celtic) for Glasgow (76 mins).