U16s held to a draw in Portugal

U16s held to a draw in Portugal

Ireland pegged back against Portugal in U16 draw...
19th Jan 2012

PORTUGAL U-16          1-1       REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Goncalo Maria 63                        Corey Galvin 40+1

The Republic of Ireland Under-16s were made battle for a draw against Portugal today at the Estádio Municipal da Nazaré near Lisbon.

While John Morling's side spent much of the first half attempting to contain their classy hosts, they grabbed the lead against the run of play through Corey Galvin in first-half stoppage time.

Portugal continued to threaten in the second half and eventually found an equaliser with 17 minutes remaining.

Morling handed starting places to all seven of the players not in the line-up which began against the Portuguese in Tuesday's 2-1 victory.

Goalkeeper Harry Doherty was kept busy during the early stages but even he would have been helpless if Tiago Castro's low strike was slightly more accurate.

The 'keeper was called upon to foil a Castro effort on 35 minutes and the rebound fell to the same player whose shot smacked off the crossbar.

After spending much of the opening half defending, Ireland broke away on the counter-attack to score. Galvin evaded two defenders approaching the penalty and opted to try a shot which took a deflection on its way to the top corner of the net.

Portugal resumed control of the possession early in the second half, managing to keep the ball without hurting their opponents in the final third.

Ireland, too, had their spells in control of the ball with captain and centre-back Noe Baba looking composed every time he broke out of defence in possession.

The home side eventually fashioned a few openings and with one, on 63 minutes, Goncalo Maria maximised the space to beat Doherty with a rising shot from just inside the box.

Irish substitute Daniel Crowley, on for the injured Cody Mulhall midway through the first half, almost regained the lead for Morling's side only for his delicate chip to marginally miss the target.

Doherty then produced a splendid save from a Postiga shot to keep the final score at 1-1.

Speaking afterwards, Republic of Ireland Head Coach John Morling took lots of positives from the two games.

He said: "It was a very pleasing week because the lads have played two top-level games and we've got to see new players come in and do well.

"Once teams defend properly, there's always a chance to get a result and that showed today.

"What was especially positive was the character shown by the lads when they conceded the equaliser. There was a wobble through the team for a while of Tuesday's game after Portugal pulled a goal back but not today."

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U-16: Doherty (Cockhill Celtic); Traynor (St. Joseph's Boys), Shaughnessy (Mervue United), Baba (Castlebar Celtic), Moseley (Birmingham City); Galvin (Ipswich Town), C. Donnellan (Corinthians), R. Donnellan (Shelbourne FC), Mulraney (Nottingham Forest); Mulhall (Stella Maris), Stokes (St. Kevin's Boys).

Substitutions: Crowley (Aston Villa) for Mulhall – inj (25 mins), Rainey (Bonagee Utd) for Moseley, O'Halloran (Southend) for Stokes (both h/t), Dimaio (Sheffield United) for R. Donnellan (50 mins), O'Hanlon (Liverpool) for Mulraney (60 mins), Dempsey (Northend United) for Shaughnessy (78 mins).