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FAI Under 16s unlucky as stalemate strikes in Israel on the double

WHILE temperatures in this part of the world are the coldest in many a long year there were no such problems last week for the Republic of Ireland under 16 side who continued their season's action in Israel.

A double header in Tel Aviv yielded two draws for John Morling and his squad of 18 players. And while Ireland was gripped by arctic like conditions, the trip abroad gave the Republic of Ireland squad a much needed break from the cold and the chance to play and train in warmer and more pleasant playing conditions.

In their opening match last Monday they led going into the closing stages only to be denied the win in the last minute as the Israelis forced a 2-2 draw.

In fact, Ireland had showed good character in that opening game as they had actually fallen behind after only eleven minutes. But they bounced back to lead the game 2-1 thanks to goals from Evergreen's Michael Drennan -- from the penalty spot -- and Ballincollig's Carel TioFack.

But deep into injury time the hearts of the Irish were broken when Orel Horev headed past Republic 'keeper Joe Coll .

Then in last Wednesday's second encounter in Tel Aviv the two sides played out a scoreless draw, but once again the Irish performed admirably, defending well, while creating several chances as well with Drennan going close to adding to his recent decent tally at international level.

However, manager Morling was still pleased with the week's work in Israel and the performance of his players.

"This was a vital exercise for us because the pair of games served to re-condition our players who had hardly played much football for the past month due to the adverse weather," she said.