The Republic of Ireland Under 16 side went down to a narrow 2-1 loss to Brazil at a wet and blustery AUL Complex this afternoon.
Donegal player Ronan McKinley came on for the Republic of Ireland after 41 minutes.
Although billed as Brazil’s Under 15s, the opposition players were all born in 2002 so they would be considered U16 players in a UEFA context.
While the quality of the South American side’s play was impressive, the Irish defended resolutely and took the lead with a thumping header from Conor Power in the 36th minute from a Paddy Moore free-kick on the right side.
Brazil might have grabbed the opener after just 45 seconds but goalkeeper Jimmy Corcoran made a brilliant save to deny Fluminese attacker Kaka from point blank range.
Corcoran denied the same player in the 31st minute when Kaka’s low shot from an angled drive seemed destined for the bottom corner.
Power’s opener gave Ireland hope of a surprise victory but Kaka ended up grabbing the equaliser in the 40th minute with another low strike from a tight angle.
The second half saw more Brazilian pressure on the Irish defence but unfortunately for the home side they eventually conceded in the 69th minute when Joao Peglow found the net with a crisp low strike that went in off the base of the Irish left upright.
Three minutes later substitute Ivonei, from Santos, produced another dangerous low shot from distance that cracked off the same Irish upright but this time skidded clear.
Ireland had a fantastic chance to level the game in the 81st minute when a left wing cross by James Furlong found Ronan McKinley and his low strike beat keeper Cristian but defender Gabriel Noga slid in and got a foot to the ball. Footage of the incident afterwards suggested the ball may have crossed the line but it was not 100 percent conclusive.
Conor Carty had a chance from the resulting free-kick by Matt Everitt but his header was too high to test the keeper.
“We got this game at short notice but we’re delighted that we did as it will really help the players in their overall preparations towards the UEFA Under 17 Championships which we’re hosting in 2019,” said Ireland U15s Head Coach Jason Donohue, who was taking charge of the team as Paul Osam is on his UEFA Pro Licence course.
“We tried to get what information we could on Brazil but it was difficult. We opted to play a defensive shape to build our way into the game and we were very pleased with the structure that we had and it worked a treat with Conor Power putting us in front.
“Unfortunately we conceded just before half-time which allowed them get back in it and after they scored in the second half we had to open up a little and were unlucky not to equalise late on.
“There were lots of good individual displays from the likes of Conor Power, Brandon Holt and James Furlong but it was a very good disciplined team performance and with the work they’re doing with Paul Osam with the U16s you can see the progression there.”
Donohue will return to U15s duty next month when he has a training camp with the players at that age group which will feature a fixture against Manchester City’s Academy side before taking on two friendly internationals against Poland in November.
Republic of Ireland: Jimmy Corcoran (Gavin Bazuna 41), Seamas Keogh, Oghenetega Agberhiere (James Furlong 41), Cian Kelly, Conor Power (Matthew Healy 59), Brandon Holt, Joe Hodge, Kian Leavy (Ronan McKinley 41), Festy Ebosele (Timi Sobowale 59), Matt Everitt, Paddy Moore (Conor Carty 41).
Brazil: Cristian, Cadu (Kaio Jorge 54), Gabriel Noga, Renan, Fabinho, Eduardo (Yan 54), Gabriel Veron (Pedro Arthur 64), Talles (Ivonei 59), Joao Peglow (Henri 78), Reiner (Giovanni Ribeiro 73), Kaka.Tags: