Ireland 0 Colombia 1
A disciplined and determined rearguard action by Don Givens' Irish u21s failed to deliver a point against the reigning champions, Colombia, in the prestigious Toulon Tournament last night. A late strike by Malher Moreno robbed the irish of the draw their defending deserved.
Right from the off, Ireland knew it was going to be along night as the talented South Americans, fielding nine of last year's winning side, made all the running. But with Irish skipper Barry Quinn putting in crunching tackles in midfield and a well-marshalled back four in front of inspired debutant 'keeper Joe Murphy, Ireland coped with everyone the Colombians threw at them.
The Irish had only one shot on target in that first half - a looping header from Tottenham striker Gary Doherty which was capably dealt with by Botero in the Colombian goal.
It was more of the same in the second half, though Ireland began to threaten more when Givens introduced wingers Richie Partridge and Richie Baker. Baker, though, had only been on the field a minute when, in the 75th minute, Moreno finally made the breakthrough after the Irish defence had been unhinged by a series of quick one-twos.
Ireland's best moment came in injury time when Baker set up Partridge for a stunning 25-yard shot which Botero did extremely well to tip over the bar.
Ireland: Murphy (Tranmere), Heary (Huddersfield), McGovern (Arsenal), Ferguson (Coventry), Clarke (Stoke), Rowlands (Brentford), B. Quinn (Coventry), O'Connor (Stoke), A. Quinn (Sheffield Wednesday), Doherty (Tottenham), Barrett (Arsenal).
Subs: Partridge (Liverpool) for A. Quinn 63; Baker (Shelbourne) for Rowlands 73