27.03.2008 at 19:30 Turners Cross
Rep of Ireland Under 19
0 - 0
Referee: Alan Kelly
Friendly / T/S-match
Republic of Ireland U19 0 - 0 France U19
The Republic of Ireland U19 squad stepped up their game considerably after their loss to France U19 on Tuesday and were close to snatching a win that would not have flattered them at Turner's Cross.
Chances were relatively few in a match that was played under incessant rain and Ireland looked much more comfortable and confident in defence than they had done when going down to a 0-3 defeat in Waterford on Tuesday.
Ireland created and lost the best chance of an entertaining game twelve minutes into the second half when David Hutton (left) opened up a path to goal with an astute pass to the feet of Ian Daly.
Daly did superbly to hold off a challenge and from the left of goal he drilled a low shot past goalkeeper Mathieu Dreyer and marginally outside the far upright.
The Ireland U19 team showed six changes from the team that had lost to France U19 on Tuesday Ė manager, Sean McCaffrey, introduced Paul Skinner in goal, Cian Hughton at full-back, Brendan Moloney on the right of midfield and David Hutton up front.
Sam Sheridan and David Meyler, who came in as substitutes in the course of the match in Waterford, started in central midfield at Turnerís Cross.
France, who won the first match 3-0, also showed many changes. Three players made their first appearance on their brief Irish visit and three players who were introduced as subs in Waterford started tonightís match.
France are preparing for the second, elite, qualifying phase of the UEFA U19 Championship of 2008 in May. Ireland were eliminated in their first qualifying round series.
Unfortunately for France, they lost goalkeeper Vincent Degre within nine minutes of the start of the match. He replaced Mathieu Dreyer from the first match but had to receive treatment after a clash of heads and Dreyer was called in as substitute.
France were close to a sensational opening goal within two minutes of the kick-off. Jeremy Pied almost surprised goalkeeper Skinner with a powerful shot from 30 yards that flew narrowly over.
Ireland responded immediately and a free from the right wing struck by Sam Sheridan was met high in the air by Ian Daly (left) and his flying header down towards the corner of the net was pushed around the post with difficulty by goalkeeper Degre.
France looked more dangerous than Ireland when they broke with centre-forward Dominique Malonga, who is on the books of Torino, threatening with his pace and strong shooting.
He was well policed by centre-back Garry Breen for most of the opening half but in the 30th minute he was released by Jeremy Pied who threaded a lovely pass through the centre of the Irish defence. Malonga turned Breen but shot wide of the far upright from ten yards.
The elusive Pied caused Ireland some problems on the right wing but goalkeeper Paul Skinner was never stretched. For their part, Ireland threatened most when their tall defenders, Breen and Laurence Gaughan, came forward for set pieces.
Ireland were close in the second half again when Danny Earls floated a free in the 75th minute into a crowded goalmouth and Breen headed the ball down towards substitute Daniel Corcoran. Unfortunately for Ireland Corcoran was beaten for possession by the alert Dreyer.
Republic of Ireland U19: (4-4-2) - Paul Skinner (Celtic); Cian Hughton (íSpurs), Gary Breen (Manchestrer City), Laurence Gaughan (Celtic), Danny Earls (Aston Villa); Brendan Moloney (Nottingtham Forest), Sam Sheridan (Bolton Wanderers), David Meyler (Cork City), Kurtis (Byrne (Hibernian); Ian Daly (Manchester City), David Hutton (íSpurs).
Substitutes: Michael Spillane (Norwish City) for Byrne 55; Daniel Corcoran (Sporting Fingal) for Daly 67; Shane Dempsey (Wexford Youths) for Sheridan 71; Donal McDermott (Manchester City) for Hutton 77; Paul Cahillane (Celtic) for Meyler 80; Michael Daly (Manchester City) for Moloney 87.
France: (3-5-2) - Degre; Gerard, Coubronne, Fachan; Poujol, Fontaine, Sissoko, Ganalons, Dedola; Pied, Malonga.
Substitutes: Guidileye for Sissoko 55; Schneiderlin for Poujol 65, Bakar for Dedola 65; Obertan for Malonga 73..
Referee: Mr. Alan Kelly (Cork).