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26.11.2008 at 11:00 Hibernians Ground - Corradino - Malta Attendance: 50
France 2 - 0 Rep of Ireland Under 19
Referee: Istvan Vad (HUN) European Qualifier / PROG T/S-match

Yacin Brahimi 79 mins;
Damien Le Tallec 84 mins;
Opening squads
Abdoulaye Keita
Nicolas Seguin
Badis Lebbihi
Clévid Dikamona
Yann M'Vila
Yacin Brahimi
Ryad Boudebouz
Tripy Makonda
Steven Joseph Monrose
Saïd Mehamha
Damien Le Tallec
Gerard Hanley
Gavin Gunning
Olanrewaju Oyebanjo
Mark Connolly
Danny Kelly
Niall Mc Ardle
Richard Towell
Aaron Doran
Gearoid Morrissey
Shane O'Connor
Paul Murphy- 91
Rémi Pillot
Sébastien Corchia
Mickaël Nelson
Magaye Gueye
Hervé Bazile
Frédéric Bulot
Josua Guilavogui
Kieron Thorpe
Jamie Devitt
Damien Mc Crory
Ian Daly
Patrick Madden
Badis Lebbihi (out)
Sébastien Corchia (in)46 mins;
Steven Joseph Monrose (out)
Hervé Bazile (in)67 mins;
Yacin Brahimi (out)
Frédéric Bulot (in)81 mins;
Damien Mc Crory -> Gavin Gunning (43)
Patrick Madden -> Paul Murphy- 91 (82)
Jamie Devitt -> Richard Towell (87)
Yellow cards
Yann M'Vila 41 mins; Aaron Doran (20)
Gearoid Morrissey (40)
Aaron Doran (72)
Red cards
None Aaron Doran (72)
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 | Preview
France 2-0 Republic of Ireland

Ireland's U19 manager, Sean McCaffrey today hailed his players for a tough, spirited performance after his side were defeated by France with two late goals in the final game of the UEFA Championship, first qualifying phase.

As both sides had already sealed their passage to the next round, the prize at stake was top spot in group 4 coupled with a 1st seed place in the elite qualifying phase draw which takes place next week.

With only 12 fully-fit players available, McCaffrey shuffled his team from the start and moved Irish captain, Danny Kelly from his usual defensive role to striker, up front alongside Ipswich striker, Paul Murphy who played just in front of the midfield.

The Irish dominated proceedings for much of the first half but when Irish midfielder, Aaron Doran was sent off for his second yellow card after 70 minutes, France used their numerical advantage to score late on in the 78th and 84th minute.

The new-look Irish team started the game very brightly and they had a number of chances to open the scoring early-on. In the 22nd minute, Irish captain, Danny Kelly closed down French defender, Clevid as he carried the ball out of defence and Kelly played the ball through to Aaron Doran behind the last defender but his first touch was too strong and Abdoulaye in France’s goal was quick off his line to smother the ball before Doran connected.

Ireland caught the French defenders napping once again after 33 minutes when Gavin Gunning played a clever through ball to Kelly who raced towards goal with just the goalkeeper to beat, French defender, Clevid was quick to recover but seemed to clip the heels of Kelly just outside the area before Abdoulaye came to collect the ball inside the box. The Irish were winning the key midfield battle during the first half with Doran, O’Connor, Morrissey and Towell all playing a starring role, limiting France to nothing more than long distance shots for large periods.

The second half started with the same high intensity as the first as France went in search of the elusive opener, they were almost rewarded after 60 minutes when Stade Rennais star, Brehimi dribbled his way into the Irish six-yard box and placed his shot low down which Galway’s Ger Hanley managed to hold.

The turning point of the game arrived after 71 minutes when Aaron Doran was sent-off for his second yellow card for diving. He had dribbled his way into the box from the left wing and under the presence of two defenders, felt that he should have been awarded a penalty but instead he faced the referee's wrath as he was shown his second yellow of the game.

France used their numerical advantage almost instantly as they enjoyed long periods of pressure in the final third of the pitch and their opening goal arrived in the 79th minute when Yacine Brahimi collected the ball from 20 yards out and unleashed a powerful shot with his weaker left foot which curled into the top right hand corner, giving Ger Hanley no hope in Ireland’s goal.

The French could have scored more but for the immense goalkeeping of Ger Hanley and the defence of Oyebanjo, Connolly, McArdle and McCrory who came on for the injured Gunning. Hanley produced an unbelievable save from Brahimi once again as he played a one-two with Herve in the box and he rifled his shot towards goal from point blank range which Hanley pushed onto the crossbar and Oyebanjo was on hand to block the resulting rebound from the lurking Brahimi.

The game was over from an Irish perspective in the 84th minute, Ryan Boudebouz created space for himself to cross from the left and his delivery found Stade Rennais striker, Damien Le Tallec who guided his header into the back of the net from 5 yards.

Despite losing the game to two late goals, Irish manager, McCaffrey was delighted with his side's performance, “I thought we were fantastic today, we had two really tricky opening games and with our injuries and suspensions, it was always going to be difficult against one of the top sides in Europe.

"Our first half was tremendous and the French couldn’t have heard the half-time whistle soon enough. Obviously, it was a loss when Aaron (Doran) was sent off but we were always a danger to the French who were incredibly strong in attack but slightly vulnerable in defence which I think we exploited,” said McCaffrey.

“We now look forward to the elite qualifying draw which takes place next week with great anticipation. Remember there are nine players in this squad who are eligible for next year. The experience they have gleaned from this group is priceless while we have a number of players who were injured for this phase so I am looking forward to the competition for places for the next qualification phase which takes place early next year,” added McCaffrey.

Republic of Ireland v France
Gerard Hanley - Galway United
Lanre Oyebanjo - Histon
Gavin Gunning - Blackburn Rovers
Mark Connolly – Wolves
Niall McArdle - Sunderland
Richie Towell - Celtic
Aaron Doran - Blackburn Rovers
Shane O’Connor - Liverpool
Gearoid Morrissey - Blackburn Rovers
Paul Murphy - Ipswich Town
Danny Kelly - Norwich City

Kieron Thorp - Crystal Palace
Jamie Devitt - Hull City (on for Towell, 87 mins)
Ian Daly - Manchester City
Damien McCrory - Plymouth Argyle (on for Gunning, 44 mins)
Paddy Madden – Bohemians (On for Murphy, 84 mins)

UEFA Championship first qualifying phase results
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Malta
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Liechtenstein
France 2-0 Republic of Ireland
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