23.05.2008 at 14:00 Malaysia
Manager Don Givens has announced the Republic of Ireland starting team to play Australia today at the Under-23 Intercontinental Tournament in Malaysia.
Defenders Eddie Nolan and Darren Dennehy were ruled out due to illness. Five members of the squad, in total, have been affected by viral enteritis, an illness common among people travelling from overseas.
Stephen Ward and top goal scorer, Michael Collins, were also suffering with the virus but have been deemed fit enough to start the game.
The other player affected is James Berrett but he is suspended for the Australia match.
Nigeria defeated Chile 2-1 in the first semi-final played today.
Republic of Ireland Team v Australia:
Shane Redmond - Nottingham Forest
Simon Madden – Leeds United
David Elebert – Hamilton Academicals
Shane Lowry - Aston Villa
Michael Spillane - Norwich City
James Ryan – Shrewsbury Town
Michael Collins – Huddersfield Town
Keith Treacy - Blackburn Rovers
Alan Judge - Blackburn Rovers
Billy Clarke - Ipswich Town
Stephen Ward - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Paul Skinner – Celtic
Eddie Nolan - Blackburn Rovers
Darren Dennehy - Everton
Stephen Maher - Yeovil Town
Mark Salmon – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Karl Moore - Manchester City
Under-23 Intercontinental Cup Semi-final
Republic of Ireland 1 Australia 3
The Republic of Ireland were defeated by Australia today at the semi-final stage of Under-23 Intercontinental Cup tournament in Malaysia.
Matthew Simon struck a hat-trick for the winners who will meet Nigeria in the final of the eight-nation event.
Don Givens’ side went into the game without defenders Eddie Nolan and Darren Dennehy due to illness and lost two more players, captain Stephen Ward and Michael Collins, to the same ailment midway through the first half when they had to be substituted.
The game brings to an end a four-game series in the space of eight days for Ireland. Manager Don Givens declared the trip to Asia a success as many newcomers utilised the opportunity to push their way into the panel for future games.
Australia qualified for the semi-final by taking a maximum nine points from their Group B campaign and they showed their class by dominating the early exchanges against the Irish.
Matthew Simon’s aerial threat was apparent from the start and he headed Australia into the lead on seven minutes.
The striker repeated the trick after 17 minutes when he was lurking at the back post and nodded home to give Ireland goalkeeper Shane Redmond no chance.
Ireland were soon hit with further set-backs when Ward and Collins, who were both doubts going into game with illness, could take no further part in the contest and both left the fray within three minutes of each other.
Ward’s replacement, Karl Moore, was lively after coming on and his delivery six minutes before half-time set up Billy Clarke whose shot clipped the crossbar and went over.
Clarke again went close to pulling a goal back two minutes later but was off-target with his shot while the impressive Keith Treacy headed over following a flowing move which began with Redmond’s thrown-out to Moore.
Having weathered that storm before the interval, Australia resumed control in the second half and extended their lead with 15 minutes remaining. Musiauk and Diljevski combined to create space and there to supply the finish was Simon.
There was still time for Ireland to hit back and they found an opening on 84 minutes when David Elebert strode out of defence and teed up Alan Judge to drill a low shot from outside of the box into the net for his first goal at this level.
Treacy’s fine individual performance almost yielded a goal in stoppage time after he controlled Judge’s cross on his chest but his close-range shot was superbly saved by Australian ‘keeper Velaphi.
Ireland manager Don Givens said: “Overall, I’m happy with the performance of my players. It was a pity that the illness has to get in the way over the last day but some of those youngsters really took their chance and impressed me.”
Givens’ Republic of Ireland Under-21 team will conclude their qualifying series at the start of next season when they travel to play Bulgaria and Portugal on September 5 and 9 respectively.
The vast majority of the Irish players who travelled to Malaysia are still young enough to be eligible for the next qualifying campaign.
Republic of Ireland: Shane Redmond (Nottingham Forest), Simon Madden (Leeds United), David Elebert (Hamilton Academicals), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa), Michael Spillane (Norwich City), James Ryan (Shrewsbury Town), Michael Collins (Huddersfield Town), Keith Treacy (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Judge (Blackburn Rovers), Billy Clarke (Ipswich Town), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Substitutions: Mark Salmon (Wolverhampton Wanderers) for Collins (23 mins), Karl Moore (Manchester City) for Ward (25 mins), Stephen Maher (Yeovil Town) for Ryan (84 mins).
Thursday, May 15
Republic of Ireland 3-1 Malaysia
Saturday, May 17
Republic of Ireland 1-3 Nigeria
Tuesday, May 19
Republic of Ireland 0-0 Iraq
Friday, May 23 Republic Ireland 1-3 Australia.