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Statistics: Ireland Under 16 [Powered by tplSoccerStats]
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27.10.2005 at 16:00 Attendance:
France 1 - 1 Ireland Under 16
Referee: M Miguel Tournament / PROG-match

None Ian Daly (76)
Opening squads
Joris Delle,
Omar Benzerga
Aurein Teudors,
Kevin Barre,
Medhi Bousbaa,
Said Mehamha,
Guillaume Insou,
Thibault Bourgeois,
Vincent Acapandie
Frederic Bulot,
Henn Saivet
Kieron Thorpe
Mark Nolan
Paul Honohan
David Joyce
Niall Mc Ardle
Conor Mc Cormack
James O'Brien
Gary Frewen
James Doyle
Ian Daly
Craig Duggan
Aristote Lusigna,
Jeremy Daouk,
Martial Riff
Steven Monrose,
Samir Kouakbi,
Gwenael Soupraye,
Harold Ebrard
Kevin O'Brien
Daniel Langan
Dean Marshall
Adrian Moyles
Eric Foley
Conor Clifford
Michael Collins
None Michael Collins -> Gary Frewen (51)
Dean Marshall -> James Doyle (69)
Yellow cards
None None.
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
On another beautiful day in Paris the Under 16 squad came up against their biggest test in this tournament when they took on hosts France.

France regarded as the kingpins of schoolboy football – this is the seventh occasion this tournament has been played and France has won it six times leaving in their wake such teams as Portugal, Poland Russia Yugoslavia.

Everything was perfect for this game on a day that would have been described as a very warm July day in Ireland the pitch in immaculate condition and a slight breeze blowing there could be no excuses.

Vincent Butler had reported a clean bill of health the only slight concern over Conor Mc Cormack had been resolved.

Ireland lost the toss and began playing against the slight breeze. France began in exhilarating fashion – the first thing to impress was the immense size of the boys – to a man they were head ad shoulders over the Irish boys. It was the men against the Leprechauns.

France demonstrated their immense ability right from the kick off with everything that is good in football – free flowing football , hitting the ball with inside or outside of the foot made no difference, movement off the ball, 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 to 3-4-3 yes they showed all the admiral qualities that is associated with having “full time” coaching.

Whether Ireland made a tentative start or France were so good is a question for debate but the Irish lads seemed to be intimidated. Their passing was not as accurate as previous games and at times was like a “punch drunk” fighter hanging on for dear life.

The inevitable happened in the 28th minute when Guillaume Insou scored. The goal came from a mistake on the half way line and France punished us dearly with Insou picking his spot beautifully and hitting an unstoppable shot from 22 yards.

Ireland went in half time a relieved team to be only one goal down. The fact that they conceded the only goal can be attributed to some staunch defending by the back four of Nolan, Mc Ardle, Honohan and Joyce and a superb display by Thorpe in goal- probably his best game ever in the green jersey.

Kevin O’Brien had put it up to Thorpe with a good display against Portugal on Tuesday and how young Thorpe responded. He pulled off two tremendous saves to keep Ireland within shooting distance.

An indication of France’s dominance can be gauged by the corner count in the first half of France 8 corners to Ireland's nil.

Vincent Butler was delighted to get his charges in for a half time break.

France substituted their front two at half time with Vincent Butler relying on his starting eleven for the second half.

The second half was slightly different with Ireland now pushing forward and taking the game to the French. The back four pushed forward more and the midfield getting more into the action. The front pair of Daly and Duggan however were living on crumbs.

France were still dangerous and another “wonder” save by Thorpe from Acapandine with the ball rebounding to Insou who fortunately for the Irish spurned his chance and shot wide when it appeared easier to score.

Whether it was through arrogance or injury France replaced their captain after 62 minutes – Said Mehamha – watch this name as he controlled everything in the middle of the park he was the maestro pulling the strings –

With Mehamha gone James O’Brien and Conor Mc Cormack were now beginning to win more ball and with the pace of Duggan and skill of Daly Ireland began to create chances.

After seventy minute substitute Collins weaved his way down the wing and crossed for the inrushing Mc Ardle to head over.

France did not heed the warning and were made pay for their error after 78 minutes when Daly pounced on a mistake by the otherwise majestic Bousbaa and quick as a flash - if ever your life depended on a goal being scored Ian Daly is the person you would pray for to be in on goal in a “one on one” situation - strode through and drawing the keeper expertly placed the ball past his right hand and into the corner for the equaliser.

The thought suddenly struck me – with all this talk of Emerging Talent Programme and Academies maybe we should organise and exchange with the French. Our players travelling to their Academies and their forwards coming over to the Ian Daly “school of finishing”

The final two minutes were played at frantic pace with at this stage the French were hanging on for dear life as the Irish with the smell in of victory in their nostrils at hand went for the jugular. Time was not on their side. The final whistle blew and Ireland had battled hard for their draw.

Vincent Butler was delighted “That’s a relief" he said " We certainly got out of jail there and I am delighted with the fighting qualities and never say die attitude of this team"
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