REPORT | MU19 | Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 Ireland
As expected, and with just a 48-hour turnaround, Tom Mohan rang the changes from their first encounter naming a whole new Starting XI in the beautiful surroundings of Trebinje.
Despite the changes it was a very even opening half hour, in which Ireland looked very comfortable in possession, but there was little in the way of goalmouth action as both sides worked tirelessly in sweltering conditions.
As the half progressed, the Irish young guns edged possession and forced their hosts back with Franco Umeh looking a constant threat with his pace, bursting forward at every opportunity.
And it was the aforementioned Crystal Palace man who won a dangerous looking free-kick 10-minutes before the break, slightly left of the area. A set-piece routine right off the training ground almost paid dividends, when James Byrne clipped a delightful ball to the back post that caused all sorts of confusion in the Bosnian backline, only to be brought to a sudden halt by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Bosnia & Herzegovina did well to take the steam out of the Irish attack, not allowing the visitors to build a head of steam, keeping possession as the half drew to a close.
Ireland came flying out of the traps in the second half and had the ball in the net after a couple of minutes. Following a clever move down the left, in which Umeh got forward yet again. The left back then laid the ball off to Justin Ferizaj and the creative attacking midfielder - fresh from his move to Frosinone from Shamrock Rovers - cut inside on his right foot and smashed the ball towards goal. Gavin Hodgins sharply got across Sutkovic but his deft first-time finish was deemed to be just offside.
Ireland just couldn’t get the breakthrough their good play deserved. Substitute Tommy Bloxham had a good opportunity with a free-kick just outside the area but couldn’t hit the target.
Almost immediately, the hosts got in front through some excellent play by Stefan Marcetic down the left before twisting and turning on the edge of the area before firing past Conor Walsh.
With less than 10-minutes remaining, Ireland tried desperately to rescue the situation but were met by a robust and resolute Bosnian rear-guard, forcing corners and good crossing positions as ball after ball rained on the hosts 18-yard box but frustratingly to no avail.
Next month they head to Spain where they'll face Scotland and the Faroe Islands in Pinatar.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Arman Sutkovic, Nidal Celik, David Camber, Niko Kocac, Hamza Ljukovac, Marsel Zrnic, Jusuf Terzic, Amar Zahirovic, Ajdin Beganovic, Petar Samardzija, Senad Mustafic
Ireland: Conor Walsh, Luke O’Regan (Jesse Dempsey, 86’), Cathal Heffernan, Charlie O’Brien, Franco Umeh (Mark O’Mahony, 71’) James Byrne (Romeo Akachukwu, 71’), Darius Lipsiuc (James McManus, 71’), Gavin Hodgins (Jake Grante, 62’), Freddie Turley (Sean Moore, 71’), Justin Ferizaj (Trent Kone-Doherty, 62’), Eoin Kenny (Tommy Bloxham, 62’)
International Friendly Results
Thursday, September 7 | Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-1 Ireland
Saturday, September 9 | Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 Ireland