The Republic of Ireland U-16 team were beaten 2-0 by their Belgian counterparts on Tuesday evening in Mechelen.
The Irish started the game brightly and could have taken the lead after just five minutes.
Dean Marshall broke down the right wing and played the ball to Craig Duggan outside the box. Duggan’s pass toDeanmarshall.jpg Ian Daly was deflected into the path of Marshall, but the Belgian keeper saved well.
In the 19th minute Belgium were awarded a penalty when the referee adjudged that Paul Honohan had handled the ball inside the box. Belgian striker Chiarelli stepped up, but Kieron Thorp in the Irish goal got down low to his right to save.
The deadlock was broken two minutes later when the Belgian winger cut in from the left and his cross was smashed into the top left corner from 10 yards.
Ireland had a chance to equalise 4 minutes from the end of the first half when Ian Daly controlled and turned well, but saw his shot saved.
In injury time in the first half, the Republic had penalty appeals turned down after the ball appeared to come off the hand of a Belgian defender as he attempted to clear.
Belgium, who are hosting the UEFA U-17 Championships next year and are building this team for that competition, almost doubled their lead four minutes after the break. After some patient build-up play just outside the Irish box, the crossbar came to the rescue of Thorp in the Irish goal.
Ireland went two goals down after 60 minutes. In a near carbon copy of the first goal, Belgium cut in from the right wing and the cross was blasted into the net, again leaving Thorp with no chance.
The Irish had an opportunity to get a goal back three minutes later. Daly, after good control, knocked the ball onto Duggan but his strike partner couldn’t connect properly and the keeper collected.
Shortly after, Belgium had a header cleared off the line and as they tired both team struggled to create a clear opportunity.
Manager Vincent Butler said: “Belgium were better than us on the night, they had more technical ability. We are building towards the Gradisca Tournament in Italy at the end of the month and we hope to learn a few things that will help us in that.”
The teams play again on Thursday evening in KRC Mechelen stadium, kick-off 19.00hrs local time.
Ireland: Kieron Thorp,Mark Nolan,Daniel Langan,Paul Honohan,David Joyce,James O’Brien (c),Dean Marshall (O’Connor 53 mins),Conor McCormack,Ian Daly,Craig Duggan (Byrne 68 mins),Michael Collins
12. Niall McArdle
13. Gareth Matthews
14. Shane O’Connor (Marshall 53 mins)
15. James Doyle
16. Kevin O’Brien
17. Kurtis Byrne (Duggan 68 mins)
18. Kevin Dawson