Hungary U-16 1-2 Republic of Ireland U-16 (80 min match)
Gergo Bobal 35 Sam Byrne 32
Gary O Neill 79
Gary O Neill continued his knack of scoring winning goals today (Tuesday) by striking late to earn the Republic of Ireland Under-16s victory over Hungary at the Hungarian National Sports Centre.
The Kingdom Boys attacking midfielder followed up his decisive goals in earlier matches of the season against Estonia and Ukraine with another clincher just as this game appeared destined to be ending in a draw.
After dominating the first half, Ireland were made play second fiddle to their hosts after the break but once goalkeeper Eric Grimes produced a couple of vital saves to keep them in it, O Neill took the initiative late on and netted his fourth international goal of the campaign.
The first quarter hour saw Ireland settle into the game and it was not long before their tempo increased with the chances following.
O Neills pot at goal drifted just wide and Thomas Mulroney had more accuracy only for the goalkeeper to gather his long range effort.
The goal that their stylish play deserved arrived on 32 minutes when Mulroney and Dylan McGlade combined to release Sam Byrne through the middle and the St. Josephs Boys striker needed just one touch before rifling past Domonkos Leindler,
A goal to the good eight minutes before the break, Ireland appeared to be in the ascendancy but they were pegged back within three minutes.
The Irish defence cleared a corner but when the ball was whipped back into the box, first to react was Gergo Bobal who applied the slightest of glances to beat Grimes.
That equaliser galvanised Hungary for the second half and it was they who held the upper-hand for sustained periods.
Ireland stood firm, however, and four minutes after Sean Coyne raced back to clear the ball off his goal-line, goalkeeper Grimes produced the save of the match to tip a header onto the crossbar.
Byrne had a solid penalty claim turned down eight minutes from time as the game became more open in the latter stages and Ireland held their nerve to grab the winner.
A throw-out by Grimes found substitute Jonathan Leddy in midfield who, in turn, fed O Neill forty yards out. With three defenders rapidly closing him down, the Kerry youngster jinked his way through the congestion and curled a shot from the edge of the box high into the top corner.
"It was a good result against a decent Hungary side," said Morling, after his side recorded their fourth victory in six matches so far this season.
"The lads kept the ball well in the first half and after deservedly taking the lead, it was a disappointing to concede so soon afterwards.
"We lived a bit dangerously in the second half. Although we enjoyed some good passages of play, the ball was given away too many times and it put us under pressure.
"However, we rallied for the last 15 minutes and should have been awarded a penalty. Garys goal was an excellent finish at the end of a good move which began from our goalkeeper."
The nations meet again on Thursday morning in the second match of the double-header, with all seven substitutes from todays game assured of starting slots.
Republic of Ireland: Grimes (Ringmahon Rangers); Mullaney (Portlaoise), McFadden (Swilly Rovers), Dan O Reilly (Cherry Orchard), Coyne (Cherry Orchard); McGlade (Shelbourne), McGrath (Nenagh FC), Mulroney (Crumlin United), O Neill (Kingdom Boys); Grealish (Aston Villa), Byrne (St. Josephs Boys).
Subs: Leddy (Cavan Shamrocks) for McGrath (46 mins), Walsh (Shelbourne) for Grelish, Wixted (Stella Maris) for McGlade (both 64 mins), Whittle (De la Salle, Waterford) for Byrne (73 mins).