Ireland U15s suffer narrow defeat in Poland
Poland 2-1 Republic of Ireland
THE Republic of Ireland's youngest international side - the U15s - were unlucky to go down to a 2-1 loss to Poland in a friendly international at Mniow Stadium this afternoon.
This side is a historic one for Irish football as every player was born in the 21st century. This fixture is their first of two against the Poles and the first international of the campaign for the U15s.
Poland took the lead as early as the seventh minute when Jakub Sinior turned the ball home after Irish keeper Lorcan Callaghan had initiated saved a strike from distance.
Clever play by Aaron McColgan created a chance for Glen McCauley in the 12th minute but his strike went wide.
McColgan was involved once more five minutes later when his cross appeared to strike a defender's arm and while some were calling for a hand-ball McAuley pounced but his strike was well saved by keeper Bartosz Mrozek.
It was McColgan taking aim in the 20th minute after bursting through the middle but his effort was off target.
Two minutes later captain Lee O'Connor made another burst down the flank and cut the ball back to Jack Owens but his strike was blocked by a defender.
McAuley had a free saved in the 27th minute after he had been fouled following good play from Owens.
The first half ended with another positive Irish attack with McColgan firing into the side-netting after a quickly taken free-kick by Dominic Peppard sent him through.
Ireland continued their impressive form in the second half and finally found an equaliser in the 48th minute. A powerful run from Jack Owens wide on the right saw him cross and a Poland defender handled the ball for a penalty. McAuley stepped up the fire home from the spot.
Owens had an effort narrowly off target in the 52nd minute before Ireland were caught by the home side on the counter-attack in the 67th minute. Błażej Starzycki fired home impressively.
Despite continuing to pass the ball well Ireland could not find a way to level once more. The two sides will meet again in Strawczyn on Thursday afternoon.
"We were very pleased with how the lads played. For the U15s it is the first time they've come together for an international, the pace and movement is always something new for them but once they got to grips with that after 15 mins we settled down," said head coach Colin O'Brien.
"We conceded early but the players showed good spirit not to go into their shell. We were unfortunate not to be level at half-time. The players got their just rewards with the penalty early in the second half and created chances but couldn't take them.
"Poland then played deeper and did well on the break at times and scored a good second. We were unlucky with some late good chances but we just couldn't get the equaliser.
"Overall I'm pleased with how we did and now it's a matter of recovery ahead of the second game on Thursday."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U15: Lorcan Callaghan; Lee O'Connor (Luke Nolan 74), Aaron McColgan (Aaron Connolly 66), Kevin Healy, Thierry Baba, Joe Dwyer, Dominic Peppard, Charlie Barry, Jack Owens, Glen McAuley, Mark Kelly.
Tuesday, November 11
U15 International Friendly
Poland 2-1 Republic of Ireland, Mniow Stadium
Thursday, November 13
U15 International Friendly
Poland v Republic of Ireland, Strawczyn Stadium (12.00pm)