Saturday, June 27, 2009

Irish underage round-up: Day two

Ireland U-18 Boys 2 (Shane O'Donghue, Andrew Shekleton) Scotland 2 (Fraser Sands, George Scott)

The Irish U-18 boys drew the first of their two-match series with Scotland in Edinburgh, conceding a freak goal in the final ten seconds to deny them victory in a game they dominated throughout.
The Irish built up a 2-0 lead very early on when Shane O'Donoghue completed some good build-up play while Andrew Shekleton - a late call-up in place of Davy Carson - nailed a superb reverse.
For Scotland, Fraser Sands scored from a corner in the 18th minute before George Scott doubled the advantage with one of the last plays of the game from open play.

They play the same opposition again at 11am on Sunday.
Ireland U-18 Girls 1 (Chloe Watkins) Scotland 1
Chloe Watkins stunning reverse-stick aerial lit up what was otherwise a tight, tactical battle as Scotland played with a slightly fresher panel as extra troops arrived for the second game.
With school exams ongoing in Scotland, a number of their panel were unavailable on Friday, making this fixture a more meaningful test than Friday's shortened game.
Watkins opened the scoring in the 60th minute but Scotland levelled within 60 seconds to ensure the draw.

Ireland U-16 Girls 1 (Chloe Brown) England 1 (Anna Toman)
Una McCarthy's U-16 side put in an impressive stint in the second of their three match series with England, showing more composure and an increased tempo from Friday night.

Playing half-court, they managed to hold the ball for longer periods and responded well to going a goal behind in the 41st minute. Chloe Brown (pictured celebrating, right) made it 1-1 when she finished off a superb move, beginning at the stick of left-back Gemma Frazer.

And a couple of late chances to win the game, instigated by Leah Ewart and Elaine Carey, squeezed just wide while Ireland also edged the corner count 4-3.

Ireland U-16 Boys 1 (Owen Magee) England 2
Ireland were punished for a couple of rash mistakes in the second half as England claimed their second win of this three-game duel at Belfield this afternoon.

Owen Magee (pictured, left) showed what appears to be a family strength as he smashed in a suitably Eugene-esque reverse from 10 yards to tie the game at 1-1 with ten minutes to go. But England were awarded a late penalty stroke for a bad tackle in the circle to take the win.

Early on, Mark Ryan flashed just wide after Nick Burns' excellent upright reverse pass found the Irish skipper in space in the circle. Mark Ingram pulled off a stunning save from point-blank range in the first half from a brilliant English penalty corner move to keep the score sheet clean by the break.

But Ireland fell behind when a misplaced ball around the back was clinically punished, the English striker bursting into the circle and battering in a shot.

* For Adrian Boehm's pictures from the Ireland U-16 girls game, click here, and for the Boys U-16 game, click here

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