Monday 17 June 2019

Kenny remains cautious as cubs near Toulon semi-final

Ireland U-21 0 Mexico U-22 0

Jayson Molumby skips past a challenge from Jose Joaquin Esquivel. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
Jayson Molumby skips past a challenge from Jose Joaquin Esquivel. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Stephen Kenny won't allow complacency to seep into the Ireland U-21 team after a scoreless draw put them on the brink of reaching the Toulon Tournament semi-finals.

Following two comprehensive victories in the opening pair of matches in Kenny's reign, Ireland exhibited a steelier side to their armoury last night in France.

Against the classy Central Americans, a team that reached the final last year, caution had to form part of their game-plan.

The stalemate, leaving both teams on four points, means Ireland will be guaranteed a place in next week's last four by beating Bahrain in Sunday's concluding game of the pool.

If they register a bigger victory than Mexico do against China, Ireland will progress as victors of the group. Awaiting them in the semi-final will be Brazil or Japan.

"This is not a formality," warned Kenny.

Ireland's Zach Elbouzedi looks for a way past Gerardo DanielArteaga. Photo: Alexandre Dimou
Ireland's Zach Elbouzedi looks for a way past Gerardo DanielArteaga. Photo: Alexandre Dimou

"Bahrain hit the crossbar against Mexico, so we've still work left to do if we're to reach the semi-finals."

Had they been more clinical in Provence last night, their passage might be already assured.

They created the best chances of the game at the Stade Parsemain, with Adam Idah wasting the golden one after 17 minutes.

Caoimhin Kelleher, at the other end, was relatively untroubled in the Ireland goal, bar a free-kick by Jairo Torres on the hour which smacked off the crossbar.

Connor Ronan fires a cross into the box. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
Connor Ronan fires a cross into the box. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile

"We've had a really good tournament so far and the players definitely deserved at least a draw tonight," added Kenny.

"Mexico even left out their most creative player to try deal with our two central midfielders, Jayson Molumby and Conor Coventry. Most of that their side were in their team that did so well last year. Despite them being a strong team, I'm still disappointed that we didn't win."

Ireland - C Kelleher (Liverpool); L O'Connor (Manchester United), D O'Shea (West Brom), C Masterson (Liverpool), D Leahy (Bohemians); J Molumby (Brighton & Hove Albion), C Coventry (West Ham United); Z Elbouzedi (Waterford), C Ronan (Wolves), S Power (Norwich City); A Idah (Norwich City). Subs: A Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Power (46), A Drinan (Waterford) for Idah (83).

Mexico - J Hernandez; A Mozo, I Govea, J Angulo, G Arteaga; Erick Aguirre (F Cordova 86), J Esquivel, F Beltran (P Lopez 73); J Torres, P Yrizar (U Cardona 79), J Godinez (Eduardo Aguirre 70).

Adam Idah stays close to Mexico's Jose Joaquin Esquivel. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
Adam Idah stays close to Mexico's Jose Joaquin Esquivel. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile

Ref - M Gonzalez Alveal (CHI).

The Republic of Ireland U-21's pictured before their match against Mexico at the Parsemain in Fos-sur-Mer, France. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
The Republic of Ireland U-21's pictured before their match against Mexico at the Parsemain in Fos-sur-Mer, France. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile

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