England took the bragging rights in last night's concluding U-18 Centenary Shield game at Tallaght Stadium courtesy of a winner by Fabio Goncalves De Abreu seven minutes from full-time.
With both teams out of contention to lift this year's five-team trophy, these two rivals had only pride to play for and served up a thriller.
Ireland striker Chris Lyons bagged his first goal of the campaign on 26 minutes, pouncing after a defensive mix-up. Ireland's own slack defending four minutes before the break allowed England level through De Abreu. Sub Jack Wood was afforded too much space seven minutes after the restart to give England a 2-1 lead, but John Mountney equalised approaching the hour with a superb low 30-yard strike.
Despite the best efforts of Mountney and substitute Conor Keddy in attack, Ireland were unable to grab a third and got caught out late on when De Abreu netted his second.
IRELAND -- Murray (Phobailscoil Iosolde); Barker (Fingal CC), Cooney (Templeogue CC), R McLaughlin (Carndonagh), Matthews (Clonkeen College, Blackrock); Merritt (Loreto CS, Milford), Douglas (St Brendan's College, Bray), Chambers (St Fintan's, Sutton), Mannion (St Benildus); Lyons (Presentation, Bray), Mountney (St Muredach's, Ballina). Subs: C McLoughlin (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana) for Matthews, Timlin (Scoil Mhuira, Buncrana) for Mannion (both h-t), Molly (Tullow SC) for McLaughlin (68), Keddy (Carndonagh) for Merritt (72), Lane (Presentation College, Athenry) for Lyons (80).
ENGLAND -- Baldy; Glover, Summers, White, Evans, Ayris, Close, De Abreu, Thompson, Meaney, Barden. Subs: Wood for Ayris, Hurley for Evans (both h-t), Sherratt for Thompson (65), Moyo for Meaney (70), Vallis for Barden (78).
REF -- N Doyle (Dublin).