Coombes strike sets up U-19s
U-19 Ireland 2 U-19 Czech Republic 1
IRELAND'S budding young stars put on a show as they marked their first home game of the season with victory over the Czech Republic in front of a crowd of less than 500 at Flancare Park, Longford.
It didn't take long for Paul Doolin's charges to gain the initiative, with Kenny McEvoy and Paul George providing the width in attack.
Mikey Drennan conjured the first attempt at goal after just four minutes when his ferocious free-kick from 30 yards was punched over by Josef Rehnak.
Then, on 11 minutes, Ryan Coombes spurned a glorious chance by volleying his shot over from six yards, but the St Patrick's Athletic player made amends with the opener after 27 minutes.
George did the spadework in delivering a low cross from the left and after the ball had eluded Drennan, it fell kindly for Coombes to prod it home from six yards.
Ireland continued to press and grabbed their second five minutes before the break. Coombes sprayed a pass wide for Drennan, whose first-time cross landed perfectly for the unmarked McEvoy to power a header past Rehnak.
Steven Smith's rash challenge on Jan Shejbal seven minutes after the restart earned the Czechs a penalty, with Frantisek Liska converting the rebound after his spot-kick was saved by Ian Lawlor.
The countries will meet again tomorrow at Lissywollen Stadium in Athlone (1.0) for the second instalment of the double-header as Ireland continue their preparations for the UEFA elite-stage qualifiers in June.
IRELAND – I Lawlor (Manchester City); R McConnell (Manchester United), S Smith (Leicester City) T Hoban (Watford), S Griffin (Reading); D Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), K Dillon (Hull City); K McEvoy (Tottenham Hotspur), R Coombes (St Patrick's Athletic), P George (Celtic); M Drennan (Aston Villa). Subs: S Maguire (West Ham United) for Coombes (57), L Gallagher (Burnley) for Dillon (57), S Byrne (Manchester Utd) for Lenihan, B Miele (Newcastle United) for George (64)
CZECH REP – Rehak; Simic, Filip, Nerad, Shejbal; Cermak, Travni, Liska, Hybl; Byrtus, Sterba. Subs: Karafiat for Simic (46), Wermke for Byrtus (46), Masek for Trevnik (68), Jureka for Liska (68), Sevcik for Shejbal (75).
REF – R Matthews (Athlone)