15 June 2015
Republic of Ireland Amateurs 3– 1 World University Games X1 Three first-half goals paved the way for the Republic of Ireland Amateurs win in the first of two fixtures against the World University Games bound Ireland squad at the AUL Complex.
With the UEFA Regions Cup Finals coming up later this month manager Gerry Smith would have been pleased at the industry and sharpness of his charges as they quickly took control of the game. A mix up between defender Dylan Mernagh and goalkeeper Seamus Houghton led to Mernagh's back pass beating his 'keeper' for an unfortunate early opening goal.
And it got worse for the Ireland side on the half hour when James English climbed above Mernagh and Stephan Last to power home a header from Jimmy Carr's pin point left wing cross. The impressive Daniel Mathews and Declan O'Connell had a strong grip on midfield and Smith's side went further ahead just before the break when O'Connell beat Houghton from close in with a smart finish after the students failed to clear an Adam Bear corner.
Although the Ireland side did have plenty of play in that opening half the only effort of note was a Stephen Last header from the edge of the box that was well past Brendan O'Connell's post after a Jonny Bonnor free kick. A much improved performance by Danny Crowley's charges after the break saw Bonnor fire in a fierce drive from distance that O'Connell was glad to push over his bar.
The IT Carlow man then pulled a goal back ten minutes into the half with a similar effort from close to 35 yards out that gave the Amateurs keeper no chance of getting anywhere near to it. They might have grabbed a second when Alan O'Sullivan burst past Ian Flemming and Anthony O'Callaghan but O'Connell was quickly of his line to smoother the effort.
Later Bonnor saw his close range drive deflected out for a corner and Alan McGreal had a shot from the edge of the box pushed away by O'Connell. But that was as close as Crowley's side got to reduce the deficit. While at the other end a Shane Stritch header brought out a fine save from Matt Connor. A good work out for both sides that will have given the respective managers plenty to dwell on.
Republic of Ireland Amateurs: Brendan O'Connell (Rockmount Utd); Chris Higgins (St. Michaels), Anthony O'Callaghan (St. Michaels), Paul Breen (St. Michaels), Dean Carpenter (Collinstown), Adam Beary (North End Utd), Daniel Mathews (Collinstown), Declan O'Connell (Carrigaline), Jimmy Carr (St. Michaels), Shance Stritch (Bluebell Utd), James English (Darndale). Subs: Ian Fleming (Mayfield) for Breen ht, Not Used: David Meehan (Crumlin United), David Lacey (Killester Utd), Ross Carrig (Crumlin Utd).
Ireland - World University Games X1: Seamus Houghton (IT Carlow); Conor O'Keeffe (IT Carlow), Dylan Mernagh (University of Limerick), Stephen Last (IT Carlow), Reeve McEnteer (Dundalk IT), Robbie Gaul (DCU), Brian Nolan (University of Limerick), Alan McGreal (UCD), Jonny Bonnor (IT Carlow), Andy Mulligan (IT Carlow), Alan O'Sullivan (DCU). Subs: Luke Kelly (DCU) for Nolan 30 mins, Matt Connor (Waterford IT) for Houghton ht, Jake Corrigan (Maynooth University) for McEnteer 50 mins, Peter Higgins (University of Limerick) for Gaul 55 mins, Manny Kaguako (University of Bedfordshire) for O'Keeffe 60 mins, Jimmy Fallon (Athlone IT) for Mulligan 60 mins, Daniel McGuiness (IT Carlow) for O'Sullivan 70 mins.
Referee: Liam McGuirk Assistants Ian Bradley, Lorcan White.
Republic of Ireland Amateurs 1 - 0 World University Games X1
Dean Gibbons headed the only goal of a tight game that gave the Republic of Ireland Amateurs two wins in both of their fixtures against the Ireland side heading to the world University Games in South Korea next month.
These games were the ideal preparations for Amateur manager Gerry Smith ahead of their UEFA Regions Cup finals set for the Dublin area later in June and the Smith will have been satisfied with the way the day panned out.
'I'm delighted to have played these two games they were just what the squad needed as many of the lads hadn't played in a couple of weeks' said Smith. 'It gave us a great work out and although we won both of the games it was more about getting the lads on the pitch and upping their match fitness. We will now go on and finalise the squad of 20 plus four stand by players to take part in the Regions Cup by the end of the week' added Smith.
The only score came on the half hour mark when Gibbons forced goalkeeper Matt Connor into making a brilliant tip over save with a sweetly struck effort and from Lar Dunne's resulting corner the Kilbarrack United man made no mistake this time beating Connor with a firmly placed header to give the Amateurs their second win of the day.
Robbie Gaul might have pulled a goal back for Danny Crowley's side just before the break when he found space on the edge of the box to fire in a low drive that David Meehan managed to gather.
Crowley's side summoned up reserves of energy in the final quarter and Luke Kelly was unlucky to see an effort just go past Meehan's post and Alan O'Sullivan hit the side netting with another late strike. The Ireland squad will continue their preparations for Korea with a training session next weekend and manager Crowley was delighted to have got in these two games against the Amateurs.
'It was great to have such strong opposition to test our squad, the Amateurs are a well drilled group of players and although the results didn't go our way I'm pleased at the performance we gave for most of the two games' said Crowley. 'Of course there is plenty for us to work on over the next couple of weeks and I'm confident we can go to Korea next month and do well' added Crowley.
Crowley was also most appreciative of the efforts of Gerry Smith, Denis Cruise and the FAI Junior Council for arranging the two games.
Republic of Ireland Amateurs: David Meehan (Crumlin United); John Meleady (Tolka Rovers), Ross Carrig (Crumlin United), Paul Murphy (Sheriff YC), Kevin Lynch (Sheriff YC), Lar Dunne (Bangor Celtic), Conor Riddick (Bangor Celtic), Dean Gibbons (Kilbarrack United), Aji Sule (Bluebell United), Greg Moorehouse (Crumlin United), David Lacey (Killester United). Subs: James Lee (Crumlin United) for P Murphy ht, Thomas Dunne (St Pats CY) for Moorehouse ht.
Ireland - World University Games X1: Matt Connor (Waterford IT); Manny Kaguako (University of Bedfordshire); Robbie Gaul (DCU), Stephen Last (IT Carlow), Jake Corrigan (Maynooth University), Conor O'Keeffe (IT Carlow), Peter Higgins (University of Limerick), Brian Nolan (University of Limerick), Alan McGreal (UCD), Luke Kelly (DCU), Alan O'Sullivan (DCU). Subs: Daniel McGuiness (IT Carlow) for O'Keeffe 20 mins, Jimmy Fallon (Athone IT) for McGreal 25 mins, Seamus Houghton (IT Carlow) for Connor ht, Dylan Mernagh (University of Limerick) for Last ht, Jonny Bonnor (IT Carlow) for Higgins 70 mins.
Referee: Ian Bradley Assistants Liam McGuirk, Lorcan White.
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