Soccer Scene

Change:  Move to:
04.11.2008 at 17:30 Attendance:
Aspire Academy 1 - 1 Rep of Ireland
Referee: Friendly-match

None Jeff Hendrick (pen.) (25)
Opening squads
Aaron Mc Carey
Anthony O'Connor
Eoghan Osbourne
Mark O'Brien
Eoin Wearen
Sean Skelly
Jeff Hendrick
Stephen Folan
Sean Stewart
Ryan Connolly
Michael Rafter
John Disney
Paul Lawless
David O'Leary
Tom O'Halloran
Tommy Amos
Robbie Benson
None John Disney -> Eoghan Osbourne (55)
Tom O'Halloran -> Eoin Wearen (55)
David O'Leary -> Sean Stewart (65)
Tommy Amos -> Ryan Connolly (70)
Robbie Benson -> Michael Rafter (70)
Paul Lawless -> Robbie Benson (80)
Yellow cards
None None.
Red cards
None None.
Match report
Aspire Academy (Qatar) U18 1-1 Republic of Ireland U17. Jeff Hendrick pen

The Republic of Ireland Under-17 side gained a deserved draw against a squad composed of players a year older when Jeff Hendrick converted a penalty against the Aspire Academy in Doha.

The game was the first of two matches between the teams, held in Doha, at the headquarters of the Qatar Aspire Academy.

Playing in a stadium with a capacity of 20,000 was a great experience for the Irish players, who pressed well in the first half without fashioning many goal-scoring chances.

Michael Rafter was on the end of Ireland’s best opening in the first half but the Colchester United striker was unable to give the away side an interval lead.

The Aspire players are all operating within a full-time football Academy system and their fitness levels were evident in the second half as the humidity became a factor.

They hit the front 15 minutes after the restart following a flowing move and Ireland goalkeeper Aaron McCarey had no chance with the finish.

Ireland persisted with their passing game and Anthony O’Connor was unlucky not to score almost immediately with a header which was well saved.

Sean McCaffrey’s side succeeded in breaching the opposition’s goal from the penalty spot ten minutes later.

Stephen Folan, making his first International appearance of the season, set up the move by freeing Jeff Hendrick and when he teed up Sean Stewart, an Aspire defender brought down the winger inside the box. Hendrick (pictured left) duly stepped up and converted the spot-kick to bring Ireland level.

Both teams had chances to grab the winner late on but a draw was probably a fair outcome.

Republic of Ireland manager Sean McCaffrey said: “This was a good challenge for our lads. Aspire had excellent players in their side, particularly some of the African-born lads, and we matched them throughout.

“It was a good, competitive game. We tried out a few new players and they will have learned a lot by playing against a quality side and we have learned plenty about them too.

“We could have nicked another goal at the end but Aspire, too, had their chances and struck the post late on.”

He added: “We will name the lads within the squad who didn’t start the match on Tuesday in the starting line-up for Thursday’s game. We will be playing against players in our own age-group for the second match.”

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland Under-15 side were well beaten by Aspire in their game on Tuesday afternoon. The Qatar team proved too strong, running out 7-0 winners.

Republic of Ireland Under-17:
Aaron McCarey - Monaghan United
Sean Skelly - Belvedere
Anthony O’Connor - Blackburn Rovers
Mark O’Brien – Derby County
Eoghan Osborne - Drogheda United
Sean Stewart - St. Kevin's Boys
Jeff Hendrick - Derby County
Stephen Folan - Newcastle United
Eoin Wearen - West Ham United
Michael Rafter - Colchester United
Ryan Connolly - Derby County
John Disney - Stockport County for Osbourne (55 mins)
Tom O’Halloran - Belvedere for Wearen (55 mins)
David O’Leary - College Corinthians for Stewart (65 mins)
Tommy Amos - Wigan Athletic for Connolly (70 mins)
Robbie Benson - Athlone Town for Rafter (70 mins)
Paul Lawless - Derby County for Benson – inj (80 mins)

Under-17 Challenge Matches
Tuesday November 4
Aspire 1-1 Republic of Ireland Under-17

Thursday November 6 (Kick-off 3.15pm)
Aspire v Republic of Ireland Under-15.
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