REPORT | MU16 | Ireland start Victory Shield defence with a win

REPORT | MU16 | Ireland start Victory Shield defence with a win

Ireland Men’s Under-16s got off to a winning start in their defence of the Victory Shield beating Scotland 1-0 in challenging conditions in North Wales.

An early strike by Shamrock Rovers’ Goodness Ogbonna was enough for the young Irish side who will consider themselves unlucky to only find the net once in an entertaining game at Ruthin Town FC.

Scotland will have their goalkeeper Alastair Graham to thank who pulled off numerous saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0 and keep his side in the game late on.

But the one time Ireland were to beat the talents of Graham came inside three minutes. An Irish corner wasn’t properly cleared by Scotland and Ogbonna was able to poke the ball goalwards and over the line to make it the perfect start for Paul Osam’s side.

Scotland grew back into the game but it was Ireland who had the better chances. In the 22nd minute Michael Noonan raced through on goal but saw his effort just drag wide of the far post.

A few minutes later Jaden Umeh produced a beautiful piece of skill to beat his man, skip past a second Scottish defender and fire at goal but the strike flashed just wide denying him a highlight-reel goal.

Umeh had another chance just after the half-hour mark that produced a stunning save from Graham. Noonan clipped a ball centrally for Umeh and with his header looking destined for the goal the Dundee stopper tipped the effort onto the roof of the net.

As the rain came down ahead of the second half the pitch became a challenge for both teams and chances came at a premium. But it was Ireland again who looked the more likely to double their lead. Umeh played in Rory Finneran in the 57th minute and the skipper strode onto the loose ball but could only get a toe to it and once more Graham was able to deny Ireland.

The tireless work of Umeh was perhaps summed up 66 minutes into the game. He chased down a lost cause and was able to beat his man and drive into the box. His centre teed it up perfectly for Noonan but the St. Patrick’s Athletic forward was unable to cleanly connect with the ball and Scotland were able to keep the ball out.

With just one goal in it there was always a danger of a late Scottish equaliser and they would count themselves unlucky when Oliver Goodbrand had the best chance for Scotland deep into injury. He fashioned an effort for himself and struck a sweet half volley that just went past the post, much to the relief of Ireland.

The game would end in an Irish victory and Osam's team will prepare themselves to take on the hosts on Wednesday evening in a game live on LOITV.

Ireland: Topcu, Oladiti, McDonagh, Steward, Sherlock, Finneran (C), Skoubo Keely (Tollett, 71), Ogbonna (McDonnell, 41), Umeh (Kovalevskis, 79), Noonan, Hayes (Lee, 75)

Scotland: Graham, Barr, Carroll, Donnelly (C), McCallister, Goodbrand, Boyd, Syme, Hogarth, Borland, Teasdale.
Substitutes: Patterson, Williams, Glasgow, Molife, Burke, Smith, McCallion, Hislop

Referee: Nathan Jones (Wales)

Republic of Ireland Men’s Under-16s – Victory Shield Result/Fixtures

Monday, November 6 | Ireland 1-0 Scotland
Wednesday, November 8 | Wales v Ireland, Denbigh Town, Wales, KO 6pm (Live on LOITV)
Saturday, November 11 | Northern Ireland v Ireland, Ruthin Town FC, Wales, KO 11.05am (Live on LOTV)

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