Republic of Ireland 0 Serbia 2
Vincent Butler's Republic of Ireland U16 team were defeated by a strong Serbia at the invitational, Gradisca Tournament this afternoon (Sunday.) A goal each side of half time ensured that Serbia are set for the semi-finals but a win for Ireland against Croatia tomorrow could also propel them to a semi-final berth.
The Irish, who were playing their second game in two days, were behind after only seven minutes when Nikola Rakic headed past Irish goalkeeper, Sean McDermott, from a corner.
The Irish finished the half strongly and should have gone in level at the break when St. Kevin's Neil Yadolahi rose unopposed in Serbia's box for a corner but his effort went wide.
Serbia doubled their lead after 39 minutes from another corner through Stevan Luckovic who volleyed the ball into the back of the net following a goal-line clearance by the Irish defence.
Belvedere's Chris Lyons thought he had earned the Irish a stone wall penalty mid-way through the second half as he was hauled down in Serbia's box by a reckless tackle but the referee gave Serbia a free out.
In today's other game, Croatia inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Mexico which means that the Republic of Ireland must win their game against Croatia tomorrow if they are to have a chance at progressing to the semi-finals of the competition.
The teams who finish in the top two of the groups are guaranteed to play two additional games in the semi-finals, play-off or final.
Republic of Ireland
Sean McDermott - Vagg FC
Conor Morrissey - Bohemians
Robert Maloney - St. Joesphs
Michael Baker - Belvedere
Neil Yadolahi - St.Kevins
Carl McHugh - Dungloe Town
Chris Lyons - Belvedere
John O'Sullivan - Belvedere
Anthony Forde - Ballingarry
Gary Merritt - Milford Utd
Daniel McGuinness - Crumlin Utd
Richard Bryan - Aston Villa (on for Baker, 46 mins)
Derrick Williams - Aston Villa (on for Merritt, 54 mins)
Adam Pigott - Kingdom Boys
Niall Burdon - Stade Rennais
Daniel Mahon – Belvedere (on for O'Sullivan, 46 mins)
Shane Byrne - Leicester City
Brian McGroary - Eany Celtic
Under-16 Gradisca Tournament fixtures and results
Saturday, April 25
Republic of Ireland 1-1 Mexico
Sunday, April 26
Republic of Ireland 0-2 Serbia
Monday, April 27
Republic of Ireland v Croatia
Kick-off: 15.30 hrs.