Cyprus 0-0 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland Under-19s continued their preparations for May's UEFA elite stage qualifiers on Saturday by playing out a scoreless draw against Cyprus at the Tasos Markou Stadium near Larnaca.
Despite Ireland producing a series of clear-cut chances, they were nearly caught at the end when Cyprus earned a penalty kick only to smash the attempt wide.
The game allowed Ireland Head Coach Paul Doolin to fuse the core of his squad which helped the side progress from the UEFA first phase qualifiers last November with new talent that performed well in last month's double-header in Croatia.
Anthony O'Connor, one of those recalled to the squad, had Ireland's first chance after only three minutes when the Blackburn Rovers defender got forward to meet a cross but his header bounced off the hard surface and cleared the crossbar.
Midway through the half, Jeff Hendrick and Anthony Forde saw their shots blocked by Cyprus defenders in the same move while Derrick Williams, the Aston Villa full-back, drew a good save from the goalkeeper after captain Robbie Brady set him up for the shot.
Ireland were forced to live dangerously in the second half as Cyprus pressed. One of their efforts struck the post while, late on, the penalty kick awarded in their favour was wasted as substitute goalkeeper Sean McDermott was relieved to see his fizz wide.
At the other end, Conor Murphy was unlucky to have his volley cleared off the line while Forde's was denied at the far post after substitute Kevin Knight delivered the pinpoint cross for the Wolves man.
"First and foremost, it was a decent workout," said Doolin afterwards. "Our first half performance was excellent while the second period involved a lot of substitutions by both teams and the contest was more even."
Ireland are in action again on Tuesday when they take on the Under-21 team of Cypriot First Division club Paralimni FC.
"I will change the team for Tuesday so that everyone here is given enough game-time to impress with the qualifiers coming up in two months' time."
REP OF IRELAND U-19: McCarey (Wolves); Doherty (Wolves), Egan (Sunderland), O'Connor (Blackburn Rovers), Williams (Aston Villa); Hendrick (Derby County), Byrne (Leicester City), Wearen (West Ham United), Forde (Wolves); Murphy (Bray Wanderers), Brady (Manchester United).
Substitutions: McGinty (Manchester United) for O'Connor, Ferdinand (Southend) for Byrne, O'Sullivan (Blackburn Rovers) for Wearen (all 60 mins), McDermott (Arsenal) for McCarey (65 mins), Tidim (FC St. Pauli) for Murphy (70 min