03.10.2006 at 19:30 Home Farm Ground, Whitehall
Ireland Under 16
0 - 1
Della Valle 66 mins,
Vincent Butler’s Irish Under 16 side were defeated 1-0 by a strong Finnish outfit in Whitehall tonight in an Under 16 international friendly.
Both sides failed to take a firm grip early on and it was Finland who tested the Irish early on as Charlton Athletics, Harry Lee was forced to make a dramatic save after twelve minutes following some patient build up from the Finnish. This attack spurred Ireland on and two minutes later, Aaron Doran drifted a sublime cross into the opposing box and the clearance was only hacked as far as Gearoid Morrissey who saw his powerful 20 yard shot hit the under side of the crossbar and bounce back into the grateful arms of the keeper.
After 25 minutes, Aaron Doran was again causing severe problems for the Finland defence, he capitalised from some slack defending and his long range effort was hit just over the bar. Heikki Karkainen in the Finnish goal came to the rescue of his defence when an Aaron Doran cross was met by Ronan Murray whose half-volley was saved at point blank range.
Vincent Butler’s men should have been ahead just before the half-time whistle. A long ball forward from midfield caused the Finnish keeper to collide with on rushing defender who half cleared the ball to Greg Cunningham, 15 yards from goal; Cunningham’s shot went narrowly wide from the tight angle.
Manager, Vincent Butler made three changes at half time and his substitutions almost paid dividends instantly. Australian born, David O’ Brien battled for possession on the wing and applied a pin-point cross to the head of Ronan Murray who seen his effort clip the post. Finland were very quick on the counterattack and instantly had a chance on the opposite end as Finnish substitute, Armean forced Lee into a great save.
Finland scored the opening goal and ultimately the decisive goal of the game after 66 minutes when some sloppy defending from John Dunleavy in the Irish defence allowed Della Valle a clear run at goal and he made no mistake as he applied a finish from 10 yards.
The Irish pushed on for a late equaliser and were once again denied by the Finnish keeper when Blackburn’s Aaron Doran brought a long ball under control in the box, turned his marker with one touch only to see Karkainen tip his effort past the post.
Republic of Ireland manager, Vincent Butler was pleased with his sides’ performance after the result, “Obviously it is never nice to lose at home but our lads created some excellent chances. Were it not for a combination of bad luck and some excellent saves from their keeper, the result may have been different.”
He added, “We will have the opportunity to turn around this result on Thursday as we face Finland again and I have no doubt that the lads will be looking forward to it.”
Under 16 International Friendly
Republic of Ireland v Finland
Thursday 5th October
Republic of Ireland
Harry Lee (Charlton Athletic)
Niall Byrne (Shelbourne)
Mark Power (Aston Villa)
Kallum Keane (Derby County
Gavin Gunning (Blackburn Rovers)
Conor Clifford (Crumlin United)
Aaron Doran (Blackburn Rovers)
Gearoid Morrissey (Ringmahon Rangers)
Darragh Satelle (Crumlin United)
Ronan Murray (Erris United)
Greg Cunningham (Mervue United)
John Dunleavy (Ballybofey Uniterd) on for Mark Power, 43 mins
Richard Towell (Crumlin United) on for Kallum Keane, 43 mins
David O’Brien (Crumlin United) on for Greg Cunningham, 43 mins
Shane Howard (Crumlin United) on for Darragh Satelle, 57 mins