Ireland U21s hold Qatar in friendly game in Germany
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Qatar Olympic
NOEL King was very pleased with the character shown by his extremely young U21 squad as they secured a 1-1 draw with Qatar’s Olympic squad in a friendly in Aachen, Germany, this evening.
The Irish boss brought a completely new look squad to Germany for the friendly and an injury-time header from Aston Villa’s Mason Watkins-Clark levelled the game.
Qatar had taken the lead through the improve Ahmed Alaaddin in the 32nd minute when he burst through to fire past Ian Lawlor.
Watkins-Clark headed the equaliser in the 92nd minute after connecting with a teasing left wing cross from Bradley Garmston to steer his effort home.
“It was a great boost to all the players to see the equaliser go in. They had shown great character and created so many chances in the final 25 minutes in particular that it was looking like it may not happen for us,” said King.
“Mason had two headers previously just wide bursting through from midfield and he deserved to get the goal because he never gave up.
“The goal was the very last action of the game but we’ll go home with a smile on the face. Everybody played and there were 15 players making first appearances at this level. It was a very competitive game against a very tough opponent.
“The players have been great for the few days we’ve been here. They are very ambitious and want to play. It’s our first look at many of them and we’ve learned a lot from it.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Ian Lawlor, Brian Lenihan, Jack Connors, Shane Griffin, Pierce Sweeney, Jack Byrne, Mason Watkins-Clark, Darragh Lenihan, Kenny McEvoy, Will Hayhurst, Mikey Drennan.
Subs: Kieran Sadlier for Hayhurst 40 mins; Bradley Garmston for Connors 46; Luke Gallagher for Sweeney 46; Bradley Lewis for B Lenihan 46; Conor Wilkinson for Drennan 46; Justin Merz for Lawlor 60; Kevin Feely for McEvoy 60.