Republic of Ireland 2-1 USA
Greg Cunningham set the game alight after 11 minutes when he left three defenders for dead with a long mazy run straight through the American box; his powerful shot was somehow saved by the legs of the American keeper to keep the game scoreless.
The USA were in front minutes later when an American striker turned into the box and was left with a one-on-one with Irish keeper, Harry Lee. Lee made an unbelievable save to deny the striker and deflected the ball towards the touchline to alleviate the danger, however the ball was collected by an American midfielder who swung in a pin-point cross which was headed past Lee to give the USA the lead after 15 minutes.
Vincent Butler’s side regrouped instantly and were back in the match five minutes later, Mervue United’s Greg Cunningham latched onto a low cross but his shot was half blocked by defenders, the spilling ball fell to James Wallace who was on hand to fire home from 12 yards.
The Irish were in the lead minutes before half time, the USA cleared an Irish corner as far as Hourihane at the edge of the box, his blocked shot fell to Aaron Doran whose effort cannoned off the crossbar to Cunningham on the wing who applied a neat cross to Shelbourne’s Karl Sheppard who headed the ball powerfully past the American goalkeeper.
In the second half, Charlton Athletic keeper, Harry Lee was on hand yet again to deny the USA an equaliser, as an American burst through on goal and shot low and hard, Lee stretched to put the ball out for a corner. The USA were down to ten men after Kofi Sarkodie picked up a second yellow for a forceful tackle on Conor Clifford, the Irish should have added to their goal tally late on as Sheppard ran straight through the American defence but his effort was well saved by the keeper.
The Republic of Ireland held on for a hard fought victory and they will now advance from their group and will play Russia on Saturday who advanced from Group A in second place.
Irish manager, Vincent Butler was thrilled with his sides performance, “This is an excellent result for our side after the defeat to a top-class England side on Tuesday, during that game there were periods when we were on top for most of the game but we failed to convert our chances, today was an opportunity to put that result behind us, against a really talented USA team.”
“The experience that our players have gained in this tournament is invaluable, next year; most of this team will be involved with Sean McCaffrey’s Under 17 side who will be involved in the UEFA Championships Qualifiers where hopefully we can push hard for qualification to a major final,” he added.
Republic of Ireland
Harry Lee - Charlton Athletic
Richard Towell - Crumlin United
Kallum Keane - Derby County
John Dunleavy - Ballybofey United
Niall Byrne - Home Farm
Aaron Doran - Blackburn Rovers
Conor Clifford - Crumlin United
Conor Hourihane - Douglas Hall
Karl Sheppard - Shelbourne
James Wallace - Everton
Greg Cunningham - Mervue United
Gearoid Morrissey - Ringmahon Rangers
Robbie Gibbons - Lourdes Celtic
Stephen Last - Lourdes Celtic on for Byrne, 74 Mins
Mark Connors - Crumlin United
Paul Murphy - Crumlin United
Jason Hughes – Geraldines on for Doran, 65 Mins
David Heagney - Huddersfield Town