The Republic of Ireland Under 16 side have been defeated 4-0 by a classy Finland in Whitehall this afternoon. In torrential weather conditions, it was the Irish who brought the game to their opponents, after causing severe problems for the Finland defence in the first game, Aaron Doran continued his fine form and created Ireland’s first real chance after eight minutes when his pin-point cross was half-cleared by the Finnish defence to Robert Brady whose header just drifted past the post.
Finland were in front after ten minutes from a direct free kick on the edge of the area. Finnish captain, Della Valle’s powerful strike cleared the wall and sailed past Connors in the Irish goal.
John Smith, who was making his Irish debut today, was gifted two glorious opportunities after 20 minutes. An Aaron Doran cross was fumbled by the goalkeeper and the ball fell for Smith who was ten yards out at a tight angle. His first-time shot was turned around the post by the keeper. In an identical situation two minutes later, the Finnish keeper dropped yet another Aaron Doran cross and laid it up for Smith on the back post. Smith took a touch to bring it on to his right foot and blasted it goal bound only to see his effort spectacular saved by the onrushing keeper.
Finland scored two further goals within three minutes before the break. Some slack Irish defending allowed midfielder, Armean to hold up the ball in the Irish box, his clever lay-off was pounced on by Della Valle whose strike was hit low into the bottom left hand side of Connor’s goal.
Finland’s crucial strike came in the 35th minute to put the result out of reach for the Irish. A high testing cross was sent in from the right wing and the onrushing Rannankari beat ‘keeper, Connor’s at the front post with a neat volley.
After a slow start to the second half, Conor Clifford almost pulled one back for the Irish. Aaron Doran was once again the provider as his cross found Clifford in the box but his header looped just over the bar.
Republic of Ireland substitute keeper, Ger Hanley who was introduced at half time produced a number of fine saves as he looked to keep his goal intact. The Finnish captain, in search of his hat-trick was denied in the closing stages by Hanley, Dalla Valle beat the Irish off-side trap and found himself one-on-one with the Irish keeper. Hanley rushed from his goal and took the ball from the feet of the onrushing attacker.
Dalla Valle secured his hat-trick with just two minutes remaining. His first time shot from a left-sided cross finally beat Hanley at the near post to secure a 4-0 win for the visitors.
Republic of Ireland Team
Mark Connors - Crumlin United
Neil Harney - Belvedere
Richie Towell - Crumlin United
Mark Notaro – Cherry Orchard
John Dunleavy - Ballybofey United
Conor Clifford - Crumlin United
Aaron Doran – Blackburn Rovers
Conor Hourihane – Douglas Hall
Robert Brady – St. Kevins
Ronan Murray - Erris United
John Symth – Muirhevnamor
Paudric Ormsby – St. Kevins (on for Towell, 58 mins)
Mark Connolly – Monaghan United (on for Notaro, 40 mins)
David Cawley – Ballina Town (on for Hourihane, 58 mins)
David O’Brien – Crumlin United (on for Smyth, 78 mins)
Ger Hanley – Salthill Devon (on for Connors, 40 mins)
Karl Sheppard – Shelbourne (on for Murray, 45 mins)