U16s win first of Portuguese double
THE Republic of Ireland's U16 side scored an impressive 2-1 success in the first of two back-to-back matches against their Portuguese counterparts at the Estadio Municipal das Caldas yesterday afternoon.
John Morling's side took the lead on 17 minutes when Sheffield United's Conor Diamio struck a fierce shot from outside the box, giving the home keeper no chance.
The Republic of Ireland kept pushing forward and extended their lead on the half-hour. Bonagee's Ryan Rainey and Southend's Dean O'Hallaron played a great one-two resulting in a cross, which was firmly headed to the net by Eoghan Stokes.
The second half saw a determined Portuguese side get a grip in midfield and they reduced the deficit on 43 minutes when Luis Costa scored with a good shot, but Ireland held firm to record a deserved win.
Manager Morling (pictured) was very pleased with the performance, particularly the first half, and he praised his side for their determination in the second half when they came under pressure.
"The best way of finding out whether players are ready for international football is by playing the best teams," said Morling. "Portugal are a top-class side and will test our lads over the two matches."
The U16s will have another run-out against the hosts tomorrow at the Estádio Municipal das Caldas da Rainha (11am).
Rep of Ireland U16 squad: P Burke (Moville Celtic), H Doherty (Cockhill Celtic), R Rainey (Bonagee Utd), C Galvin (Ipswich Town), R Donnellan (Shelbourne FC), N Baba (Castlebar Celtic), R Dempsey (Northend United), L Traynor (St Joseph's Boys), C Shaughnessy (Mervue United), B Moseley (Birmingham City), J Mulraney (Nottm Forest), D O'Halloran (Southend), A O'Hanlon (St Kevin's Boys FC), C Dimaio (Sheffield Utd), C Donnellan (Corinthians), C Mulhall (Stella Maris), E Stokes (St Kevin's Boys), D Crowley (Aston Villa).