DENMARK 4-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The Republic of Ireland Under-16's fell to their first defeat of the season when they came up against a powerful Denmark team in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
A draw against Wales and two victories over Malta's Under-17 team gave the Irish team confidence coming into this double-header and they looked well capable of securing a win when the game remained goalless approaching the final quarter hour.
However, the Danes hit two goals in a minute and despite Michael Drennan reducing the arrears with and Ireland goal it was the home side that finished stronger by adding two late goals.
Ireland have the opportunity to getting one over their Damish counterparts when the nations meet again on Thursday.
John Morling's Irish side fashioned enough first-half chances to be ahead by the break. Drennan went close with a header which was saved before Kenneth McEvoy was also foiled by the home side's goalkeeper.
It was evenly poised midway through the second half when Ireland created the best opening of the game. Substitute Jack Nardiello was released through on goal but had his shot smothered by the ‘keeper. Straight away, Denmark embarked on a counter-attack that culminated in them snatching the opening goal.
Ireland had barely time to readjust to going behind when they conceded a second goal within two minutes.
Six minutes from time, Ireland were back in the match when Nardiello sent Michael Drennan free and the Evergreen FC winger stroked the ball home to make it 2-1.
Full of confidence, Ireland pressed for an equaliser during the late stages. Their persistence produced a few chances to draw level but they were caught out in the last minute as Denmark broke at pace and netted their third. Deep into stoppage-time, Ireland's woe was complete when they conceded again.
Ireland manager John Morling explained that, despite the emphatic result, his players were eager to put things right in Thursday's fixture.
"Goals change games and perhaps if we had put away some of our earlier chances, the match would have developed differently.
"I'm not too despondent. We played well for most of the game and are looking forward to the second match on Thursday."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND Joseph Coll (Glenea Utd); Eoin Hyland (Belvedere), Luke Gallagher (Cherry Orchard), Jamie Smith (Cherry Orchard), Shane Griffin (Carrigaline); Kenneth McEvoy (Villa), Sami Ade Osobe (Glenmuir), Kealan Dillon (Belvedere), Michael Drennan (Evergreen); Carel TioFack (Ballincollig), Mark Timlin (Buncrana Harps).
Substitutions: Brandon Miele (Cherry Orchard) for Timlin (50 mins), Jack Nardiello (Leicester City) for TioFack (60 mins), Robert Pearson (St. Kevin's Boys) for Osobe (70 mins), Ryan Coombes (Cherry Orchard) for McEvoy (75 mins),