Saturday 20 January 2018

Ireland left cursing luck after late drama

Ireland U-16s 1 Brazil U-16s 2

Ireland goal scorer Conor Power. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ireland goal scorer Conor Power. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

John Moore

Ireland came within inches of earning what would have been a famous draw in an enthralling U-16 international friendly at the AUL complex in Clonshaugh.

With the game deep into injury time, Brighton's Mark Everitt - who has also played for England at this level - slipped the ball past the Brazilian goalkeeper and turned away in celebration only for a defender to somehow get back and scramble it away.

Seamas Keogh of Republic of Ireland in action against Brazil's, from left, Fabinho, Joao Peglow, and Reiner. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Seamas Keogh of Republic of Ireland in action against Brazil's, from left, Fabinho, Joao Peglow, and Reiner. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Many in the crowd felt that the ball had crossed the line, but the referee's assistant judged otherwise.

And there was still time for more drama. Ireland won a free-kick out on the right wing as Brazil failed to clear the ball properly and Brandon Holt met the delivery perfectly only for his header to clip the top of the crossbar. The final whistle followed immediately, leaving the Irish players cursing their luck, despite a magnificent display, full of determination and skill.

With the main pitch waterlogged, the match had to be played on Ireland's old training pitch and the Brazilian coaches were left looking to the heavens when they saw the torrential rain and near gale-force winds they had to contend with.

Ireland played against the elements in the first half and, although they had a few let-offs, they showed admirable organisation in frustrating Brazil before taking the lead on 36 minutes when Conor Power scored with a thumping header from Paddy Moore's excellent free-kick.

Conor Carty of Republic of Ireland in action against Gabriel Noga of Brazil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Conor Carty of Republic of Ireland in action against Gabriel Noga of Brazil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

However, their joy was short-lived as Kaka equalised three minutes later after being set up by man of the match Joao Peglow.

The boys from Brazil played at a much higher tempo in the second half despite playing against the breeze as they got to grips with the wretched conditions.

The Ireland goal led a charmed life before Peglow scored the winner with 10 minutes remaining, completing a sublime move with a sweeping finish.

Ireland - J Corcoran (G Bazuna 41), S Keogh, O Agberhiere (J Furlong 41), C Kelly, C Power (M Healy 59), B Holt, J Hodge, K Leavy (R McKinley 41), F Ebosele (T Sobowale 59), M Everitt, P Moore (Conor Carty 41).

James Furlong of Republic of Ireland in action against Kaio Jorge of Brazil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
James Furlong of Republic of Ireland in action against Kaio Jorge of Brazil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Seamas Keogh of Republic of Ireland in action against Kaka of Brazil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Seamas Keogh of Republic of Ireland in action against Kaka of Brazil. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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