THE Republic of Ireland U16s won the prestigious Victory Shield competition for the first time after an impressive 3-0 win over hosts Scotland at Oriam, Edinburgh, this afternoon.
4th Nov 2016
Paul Osam's side produced an energetic second half display to take control of the game and an Adam Idah finish was followed up by a Callum Thompson double to seal the win.
The first half was a tense affair with plenty of endeavour but little by the way of early chances.
Ireland's first major attempt on goal came in the 33rd minute when Sean Brennan played a one-two with Barry Coffey then produced a strike from 25 yards that the Scottish keeper Archie Mair did well to push wide.
The Irish had a half-chance in the 47th minute when a Nathan Collins header from a corner dropped to the feet of Mark McGuinness but the Arsenal defender failed to threaten the goal with his strike.
Ireland had a big chance in the 49th minute when Jason Knight slipped through Tyriek Wright but keeper Mair was out brilliantly to save at the substitute's feet.
The Irish took the lead in the 53rd minute when Idah raced onto a ball over the top from Knight then showed tremendous composure to round keeper Mair and poking into the empty net.
Ireland went two up just under a minute later when Thompson burst in from the right and fired home from an acute angle.
Scotland hit the crossbar in the 61st minute when a cross from the right flew over the Irish defence but less than a minute later Thompson grabbed his second goal when he led a counter-attack and slotted home.
Overall it was a brilliant week for the Irish players and staff with three wins from as many games.
"Scotland were the best team we played here. We knew they would be and they have really good players who spend a lot of time together as their set-up has them in school together," said Osam.
"They have excellent rotation and movement up front which comes from being together a long time. Their manager Brian McLaughlin has them playing in the right manner and they are a very good team.
"We knew we had to play well on the counter. People forget that defending is a key part of the game. Despite all their possession they didn't really hurt us and didn't really create many chances. They pressed us high as we expected and I felt eventually chances would open up and we could play them on the counter.
"After defending well in the first half we got three excellent goals. Being hypercritical maybe we could have kept the ball better late on to see the game out but everybody was excellent.
"Looking at the tournament as a whole, I'm very pleased. We conceded just one goal in extra-time against Northern Ireland and scored nine goals which was excellent from everybody involved.
"Winning the tournament is a huge amount of credit to the players and staff for all the work put in. We'll try get the players together again in the coming months so that we can work on their further development.
"It's a great credit to everybody involved in the development of these players - clubs and Emerging Talent Programme - that they're able to take as much on board as they do considering the time we have with them is limited and the other nations have so much more contact hours with their players than we have."
IRELAND: K Clarke, Murphy, Collins, McGuinness, Ledwidge, Knight, Coffey, Idah, S Brennan, Thompson, Cassidy. Subs: Tyriel Wright for Cassidy 41 mins; Adam O'Reilly for S Brennan 41; Luca Connell for Coffey 60; Conor O'Reilly for Murphy 72; Ciaran Brennan for Idah 72; Ray O'Sullivan for McGuinness 78; Marc Walsh for Thompson 78.
Victory Shield U16 Tournament
Sunday, October 30
Scotland 2-0 Northern Ireland, Oriam, Edinburgh
Wales 0-4 Republic of Ireland, Oriam, Edinburgh
Tuesday, November 1
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Northern Ireland, Oriam, Edinburgh
Scotland 2-2 Wales, Oriam, Edinburgh
Friday, November 4
Northern Ireland 2-3 Wales, Oriam, Edinburgh
Scotland 0-3 Republic of Ireland, Oriam, Edinburgh