Friday 15 December 2017

Ireland given a wake-up call by slick Mexicans

Ireland U-19 0 Mexico U-19 3

Jack Hallahan, Republic of Ireland U19, in action against Luis Martir, Mexico U20. International Underage Friendly, Republic of Ireland U19 v Mexico U20, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Jack Hallahan, Republic of Ireland U19, in action against Luis Martir, Mexico U20. International Underage Friendly, Republic of Ireland U19 v Mexico U20, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Jose Ramirez, Mexico U20, in action against Bobby Moseley, Republic of Ireland U19. International Underage Friendly, Republic of Ireland U19 v Mexico U20, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
The Republic of Ireland U19 team of, back row, from left, Sean Long, Sean Heaney, Eric Grimes, Alex O' Hanlon, Noe Baba and Bobby Moseley; front row, from left, Sam Byrne, Dean O'Halloran, Thomas Mulroney, Jack Hallahan and Connor Dimaio. International Underage Friendly, Republic of Ireland U19 v Mexico U20, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Jose Ramirez, Mexico U20, in action against Bobby Moseley, Republic of Ireland U19. International Underage Friendly, Republic of Ireland U19 v Mexico U20, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

Mexico gave Ireland just the dry run they needed for the upcoming UEFA Championship elite stage qualifiers at Tallaght Stadium.

After a bright opening, the Irish were soon overpowered in midfield and left chasing shadows for long periods.

A slick three-man move down the right flank on 18 minutes ended with Mexico's Jose Ramirez teeing up Alejandro Diaz to find the top corner in off the post with a rocket of a shot.

Ireland were almost undone again 10 minutes later only for goalkeeper Eric Grimes to deny Luis Martir from point-blank range.

Alex O'Hanlon might have equalised on the half hour with a volley which angled wide, but the Mexicans made their dominance count with a second a minute before the interval.

CREATOR

Ramirez was once again the creator as his low cross was swept home past Grimes by Daniel Rios.

Ireland captain Sam Byrne, due to be released by Manchester United next month, was given scant service up front as the hosts struggled to create chances.

There were no such problems as the other end, with Mexico grabbing a third in the 89th minute when sub Diego Pineda volleyed home at the near post.

Ireland will need to improve for tomorrow's rematch at Dalymount Park (2.00) to enter the qualifiers with genuine ambitions of reaching the finals in Hungary in July.

Paul Doolin's side have to finish above Turkey, Iceland and champions Serbia in the mini-group they host from May 28-June 2 to secure a place at the eight-nation showpiece.

IRELAND – Grimes (Leeds); Baba (Fulham), Long (Reading), Heaney (Shamrock Rovers), Mosley (Birmingham City); Dimaio (Sheffield United) , Mulroney (St Pat's); O'Halloran (Fulham), O'Hanlon (Liverpool), Hallahan (West Brom); Byrne (Manchester United). Subs: Barnett (Brighton) for Hallahan (61), Kelly (Reading) for O'Hanlon (68), O'Sullivan (Aberdeen) for Byrne (73 ), Crowe (UCD) for Dimaio (85)

MEXICO – Resendez; Martir, Jaime (Vasquez 60), Bernal (Robles 73), Gutierrez; Flores (Guzman 80), Rodriguez (Polido 72); Ramirez (Gama 68), Rios (Pineda 68), Avalos; Diaz (Lainex 80)

REF – R Rogers (Dublin)

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport