REPORT | MU17 | Germany 2-0 Ireland

REPORT | MU17 | Germany 2-0 Ireland

Ireland Men's-Under-17’s fell to a 2-0 defeat against Germany in the second game of their Elite qualifying round in Portugal today.

Looking to bounce back from a 4-1 defeat to hosts Portugal three days previously,  the young Boys in Green showed real grit and determination to push another European giant all the way.

The powerful German side, off the back of a thrilling 3-3 draw with Croatia, signalled their intentions early on with Bayer Leverkusen wide man Montrell Culbreath forcing Bohemians stopper Joe Collins into a good and well held save.

It was all Germany in the opening exchanges, with skipper Boris Lum next to try his luck, but they were met by a very organised and hard-working wall of green, who looked to use the pace of Mason Melia, Jaden Umeh and Cathal O’Sullivan on the break.

It was going to take something special to break down the resilient Irish rear-guard and left winger Kilian Sauck certainly produced. The Borussia Mönchengladbach attacker took on all comers and after a clever one-two finished expertly at the near post to give his side the lead.

Ireland responded well, with the relentless running and composed hold up play from Melia beginning to come to the fore. Firstly, winning a free kick out on the right side resulting in O’Sullivan’s whipped delivery caused all sorts of trouble in the area.

Minutes later Melia missed a glorious chance to level having found himself clear on goal. Racing onto a ball over the top, the St. Pat's starlet was denied by a top-class save from Florian Hellstern who, to his credit, stood big throughout the battle of wills.

While chasing the equaliser Ireland were hit with a cruel sucker punch when Francis Onyeka - who calmly converted a penalty against Croatia - saw his shot from the edge of the area deflect wickedly off James Roche, giving the helpless Collins no chance.

The Irish youngsters finished the half strong, pinning their opponents back but unable to half the deficit as the towering German back line were forced to earn their clean sheet.

O’Brien looked to his bench at the break, opting for an attacking looking triple substitution in a bid to haul themselves back into the game. Melia’s club mate Michael Noonan joined him up front, with Matthew Murray giving fresh legs on the left, whist Klub Kildare man Egor Vassenin came in at the back.

The changes almost paid off when Melia, often dropping slightly deeper to link up play, rifled a shot narrowly wide as his side began to swing the momentum in their favour.

With their two-goal cushion, the Germans looked more than happy to make the game a stop, start affair and try to pick off Ireland if the chance arose however they were unable to add to their goal tally.

Attention now turns to Croatia in three days’ time as Irelands young guns look to round off the busy week and try to end on a high.

Germany: Florian Hellstern; Rafael Pinto Pedrosa, Till Neininger, Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, Owuno Darnell Keumo; Montrell Culbreath (Adin Lucina, 65’), Juan Poller (Niklas Swider, 78’), Boris Lum, Francis Onyeka (Mick Schmetgens, 90+3’), Kilian Sauck (Naba Mensah 65’); Denis Husser (Cenny Neumann, 78’)

Ireland: Joe Collins; Kaylem Harnett, Luca Cailloce (Egor Vassenin, 45’), James Roche, Harry McGlinchy; Rory Finneran (Matthew Murray, 45’), Matthew Moore, Niall McAndrew (Luke O’Donnell, 82’); Cathal O’Sullivan (Michael Noonan, 45’), Jaden Umeh (Aaron Ochoa Moloney, 86’), Mason Melia

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