Under-15 Friendly match
Aspire Academy (Qatar) 2-1 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland Under-15 side conceded a late goal against Aspire today as they lost the third and final game of their three-game tour to the Qatar-based Academy.
Ireland had followed up Sunday’s 6-2 defeat against the Academy team by recording a 2-0 victory on Tuesday and today’s final match was a close affair.
John O’Sullivan from Belvedere opened the scoring with just four minutes elapsed when he beat the goalkeeper with a precise shot from 25 yards out.
Aspire settled more into the game as the half wore but it was Ireland who had the best of the chances. Garry Merritt, Adam Piggott and Anton Rodgers were all guilty of missing good opportunities to extend the advantage.
The hosts drew level ten minutes before the break when an in-swinging corner found it’s way past goalkeeper Sean McDermott and into the net.
It was much the same pattern in the second period, with Ireland creating lots of chances but not applying the necessary finishing touches.
The fitness levels of the Aspire team, who train ten times a week in the Academy, began to tell in the final stages.
They opened the Irish defence up with some good flowing moves and eventually sprung the offside trap and capitalised with a good finish three minutes from full-time.
Ireland manager Vincent Butler said afterwards: “We matched the Aspire team for most of the game and although they had more of the play in the second half, rarely did they threaten our goal until the late winner.
“These three matches were a learning process for our team and hopefully, they will have gained a lot from playing against some exceptionally talented players.”
He added: “I am pleased that we have got to assess 19 players in action over the past three weeks between this trip and the Midlands tournament a fortnight ago which totals six matches overall.
“Our next games are not due to take place until May when we participate in the tri-nations tournament in Belfast along with Northern Ireland and Wales.”
Republic of Ireland U15 team:
Sean McDermott – IK VAG
Conor Morrissey – Waterford Bohemians
Neil Byrne - Belvedere
Daniel Devine - Crumlin United
Robert Maloney - St. Joseph's Boys
Gary Merritt - Milford United
Anton Rogers – Chelsea
James Kavanagh – Belvedere
Derrick Williams - Tramore AFC
John O'Sullivan - Belvedere
Adam Piggott - Kingdom Boys
Daniel McGuinness - Lourdes Celtic for Piggott (45 mins)
Michael Barker – Shelbourne for Rodgers (55 mins)
Shane Byrne – Crumlin United for Kavanagh (55 mins)
Daniel Purdy - Crumlin United for Merritt (65 mins)
Ryan Markey – Shelbourne for O’Sullivan (75 mins)
Alan Smith - Springfield Ramblers for McDermott (75 mins).
Under-15 Friendly Games:
Sunday, February 24th
Aspire Academy (Africa) 6-2 Republic of Ireland
Tuesday, February 26th
Aspire Academy (Asia) 0-2 Republic of Ireland
Thursday, February 28th
Aspire Academy (Asia/Africa) 2-1 Republic of Ireland.