30.08.2007 at 19:00 Port Talbot
2 - 2
Ireland Under 16
Under-16 Friendly International
Republic of Ireland 2
Murray 21,Murphy 23
Wales 2 Newman 64,MacKreth 68
The Republic of Ireland Under-16 side played their first game of the season this evening against their Welsh counterparts and were unlucky not to come away from Port Talbot with a victory.
Shane Murray from Arklow Town opened the scoring for Ireland after 21 minutes before striker Conor Murphy of St. Kevin’s Boys doubled the advantage two minutes later.
Wales came back at Ireland and scored two goals within five minutes of each other midway through the second half.
Liam Newman pulled a goal back with an effort from close range on 64 minutes and Jack MacKreth squared up the contest at 2-2 when he stroked the ball past Ireland goalkeeper Josh Byrne.
The draw means that Ireland retain their Pembroke perpetual Shield, as they were holders from last season’s fixture between the nations in Dublin.
Ireland grabbed the lead after 21 minutes following an intricate passing movement involving Shane Byrne and Oliver Kelly. Reading midfielder Kelly released Byrne into the penalty area and the Arklow Town player displayed great composure to wrong-foot the goalkeeper with a low shot into the corner of the net.
Striker Conor Murphy in the Irish attack was proving a handful for the Wales defence and he left his marker trailing in his wake to slot home a second goal two minutes later.
Full-back Leigh Swords delivered a long-ball over the half-way line and Murphy had the strength and pace to shrug off a defender before chipping the ball home.
The pivotal moment in the match arrived in the run-up to Wales scoring their first goal to make it 2-1 with 64 minutes.
Ireland were down to ten men as centre-back Mark O’Brien was off the pitch getting medical treatment and the visitors' reshuffled defence were helpless to prevent Liam Newman coasting into the box and slotting past goalkeeper Josh Byrne.
Wales grew in confidence from that strike and were level four minutes later. Jack MacKreth made the most of the space afforded to him and he gave Byrne no chance with a shot to level up the match.
Afterwards, Irish manager Vincent Butler was upbeat about his team’s display.
He said: “This match was all about introducing newcomers and fringe players into the team. From that point of view, it was a good exercise and we move onto our next games against Turkey in three weeks having learnt a lot.
“We started the game extremely well and deserved to be leading 2-0 at half-time. The loss of Mark O’Brien had an role to play in them scoring the goal to put them back into the match.
“It was my intention to give all the six substitutes a substantial run-out and we got to do that in the second half," he concluded.
Tonight’s game was the first of nine International matches for the Irish squad before the end of 2007.
Republic of Ireland:
Josh Byrne (Waterford Bohemians)
Lee Swords (Belvedere)
Mark O'Brien (Cherry Orchard)
Daniel Joyce (Belvedere)
Stephen McDonnell (Quay Celtic)
Aiden Dadoo (Stella Maris)
Oliver Kelly (Reading)
Shane Murray (Arklow Town)
John Gorman (Manchester United)
Conor Murphy (St. Kevin's Boys)
Robert Brady (St. Kevin's Boys)
John Disney (Stockport County) for Dadoo (47 mins)
Georg Landais (Millwall) for Murphy (47 mins)
John Egan (Greenwood, Cork) for Gorman (54 mins)
Robert Benson (St. Francis, Athlone) for Kelly (54 mins)
Jeff Hendricks (St. Kevin's Boys) for O’Brien (66 mins)
Craig Sexton (Belvedere) for Byrne (66 mins).