First match for Paul Osam as manager
Ireland begin Victory Shield with 0-0 draw
THE Republic of Ireland U16s were held to a scoreless draw by Northern Ireland in their opening fixture in the Victory Shield in Newport, Wales, this afternoon.
It was new Head Coach Paul Osam's first game with the Irish side and he was pleased with the overall performance.
James Jennings came closest to scoring the winner with an effort that struck the woodwork while Lee O'Connor was a constant threat to the Northern Ireland defence.
Kevin Healy had a chance to find the net early on but could not find the target. Irish keeper Brian Maher had his first save of note on the half hour to deny Northern Ireland a breakaway goal.
Ten minutes into the second half Jennings saw his powerful strike rattle an upright and unfortunately bounce back into the keeper's arms.
Aaron Connolly was a constant thorn in the side of the Northern Ireland defence in the final 20 minutes and was unlucky not to score on a number of occasions while he also had a penalty claim dismissed.
"As a first game with the group I can only be pleased with how we played. We produced some excellent passages of play and created several chances. On another day we could have won 3-0 but it wasn't to be," said Osam.
"Some of our build up play was very good. I was pleased that we created several chances which is hardest part of the game. We hit the post once and although our finishing overall could have been better we were very creative in our play.
"Defensively we limited the opposition to one real chance, which was also pleasing. Overall there is still a huge amount we have to work on with the players and I am really happy with the performance. I told the players that we wouldn't have been as happy if we'd won without playing as well.
"At the risk of resorting to clichés it is about development at this level so together with the staff we'll look at the positives and negatives from this one then look forward to the next two games."
Ireland will face hosts Wales on Tuesday and then meet Scotland on Thursday.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Brian Maher, Luke Nolan, Aaron Bolger, Aaron Connolly, Aaron McColgan, Dominic Peppard, James Jennings, Jordan Doherty, Kevin Healy, Lee O'Connor, Marcus Rowley. Subs: Thomas Caffrey for McColgan 55 mins; Cian Hughes for Rowley 60; Cian Lee for Nolan 70.
RESULTS & FIXTURES
Sunday, November 1
Northern Ireland 0-0 Republic of Ireland, Newport Stadium
Tuesday, November 3
Wales v Republic of Ireland, Dragon Park, Newport (4.00pm)
Thursday, November 5
Scotland v Republic of Ireland, Newport Stadium (12.00 noon)