Murphy on target in U19s' draw
Croatia Under-19...1-1 Republic of Ireland Under-19
The Republic of Ireland Under-19 side recorded a well-deserved draw against Croatia on Tuesday in Umeg in the first match of this week's double-header friendly.
In a frantic opening to the game, Conor Murphy fired Ireland ahead only for the boys in green to concede the equaliser less than sixty seconds later.
Throughout a fast-paced game, it was Ireland that created the more clear-cut of the chances and manager Paul Doolin was encouraged by the level of performance from his new-look side.
Only three of the 20 squad members had been part of the panel which progressed from the UEFA first phase qualifiers last November.
Doolin is using these matches - the second of which takes place on Thursday - to provide a showcase for other players to stake their claim for inclusion.
And many of them certainly made an impression against a Croatia side strong in physique and skill.
Murphy showed his alertness inside the opening minute to pounce onto the through ball and shoot past the advancing goalkeeper.
But just as Ireland regrouped following the restart, they were hit by a sucker-punch when Croatia's striker beat Aaron Carey in the Irish
goal with a cross-shot from the flank.
The game settled down thereafter and Ireland's main source of attacks originated from wingers Shaun Murray and Samir Carruthers.
It was, however, a defender that came closest to winning it for Ireland midway through the second half when tall centre-back Joe Shaughnessy rose highest in the penalty area to meet Murray's cross but his effort was hacked off the line by the Croatia full-back.
REP OF IRELAND: Aaron McCarey (Wolves), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen), Sean McGinty (Manchester United), Derrick Williams (Aston Villa); Kane Ferdinand (Southend United), Liam Irwin (Bolton Wanderers), John O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers); Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), Conor Murphy (Shamrock Rovers), Sean Murray (Watford).
Substitutions: Kevin Knight (Leicester City) for Carruthers (57 mins), Eoin Wearen (West Ham United) for Irwin, Connor Smith (Watford) for Murphy (both 60 mins).