REPORT | MU19 | Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-1 Ireland
The picturesque setting of Trebinje played host to a game of high quality between two strong side’s in which a draw was probably a fair result.
Skippered by Bohemians star midfielder James McManus, one of fourteen home-based players in the squad, the young Boys in Green started confidently despite some expected pressing.
There’s often a saying bandied about that “there is no such thing as a friendly” and this was certainly the case as both sides, along with playing some slick football, were not afraid to mix it physically either as tackles flew in.
With little in the way of goalmouth action as both sides sussed each other out, it took until just after the first half water break for either team to go close and it was Senad Mustafic who gave the Irish a little warning sign, but dragged his left footed volley from the edge of the area just wide.
Liverpool’s Trent Kone-Doherty looked a bright spark for the Irish sharp with his close control and dribbling, trying to help his side retain possession in hot and humid conditions, and linked up really well with Sean Moore down the left-hand side.
The classy and industrious midfield duo of McManus and Romeo Akachuckwu also worked tirelessly to try dominating possession and set the tempo in a crowded midfield as the game became a tad scrappy before the break.
The Irish side finished the half strong with Kone-Doherty and Mark O’Mahony having shots well blocked by some last ditch defending around the area.
The young Boys in Green did grab a deserved lead just after the break through the aforementioned, ex-Cork City hit man, O’Mahoney. Following a half-cleared corner, the ball fell kindly to the lively Tom Olyott, who showed quick feet to beat his man and cut inside onto his left foot, delivering an outstanding in-swinging cross into the danger area for the Brighton & Hove Albion frontman to head home.
Despite the visitors looking relatively comfortable and playing some nice stuff, the hosts equalised with an absolute stunner with a quarter of an hour remaining. Skipper Niko Kovac found a yard of space, on the right-hand corner of the 18-yard box and whipped his effort into the far top corner over Andrew Wogan, who stood no chance such was the quality of the hit.
The pair will lock horns again on Saturday giving boss Tom Mohan an ideal opportunity to run the rule over the full squad at his disposal ahead of a trip next month to Spain for friendlies against Spain and the Faroe Islands.
Ireland: Andrew Wogan, Jake Grante, Luke Browne, Lewis Temple, Sean Moore, Tom Olyott James McManus, Romeo Akachukwu, Trent Kone-Doherty, Thomas Bloxham, Mark O’Mahony
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Arman Sutkovic, Nidal Celik, David Camber, Niko Kovac, Hamza Ljukovac, Marsel Zmic, Jusuf Terzic, Amar Zahirovic, Stefan Marcetic, Aidin Beganovic, Senad Mustafic