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Ireland Under-17s earn point on opening night

Republic of Ireland………… 1 Greece………………1

In front of 4,265 spectators at Tallaght Stadium, the Republic of Ireland Under-17s impressed in their first game of the 2019 UEFA European Under-17 Championships as they drew with Greece.

Colin O’Brien’s turned on the style in the first half with chances falling to Charlie McCann, Timi Sobowale, and Joe Hodge, but they could not find the breakthrough that their positive play deserved.

Ireland relented and continued to push Greece back inside their own penalty area. And on 58 minutes, Matt Everitt broke the deadlock bu firing in from close range following an inswinging corner kick from James Furlong.

The home side moved the ball well, connected their passes, and unloaded eight attempts at a goal in a game that they largely dominated. The work done on the training ground by O’Brien and his staff – which includes Ian Hill, Kevin Doyle, and Josh Moran – is clearly having on impact on this squad.

In the opening 35 minutes, it was all one-way traffic with Ireland pressing high and creating some eye-catching passages of play. Greece struggled to deal with the directness of Festy Ebosele and the trickery of Everitt, while Hodge and Seamas Keogh were excellent in the middle of the pitch.

The backline looked rarely troubled, while goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu was not really called on to contribute. Still, it took time for Ireland to get the first goal and when it arrived there was a feeling that the three points were secured.

It certainly looked to be that way as the clock ticked into the fifth minute of added time, but substitute Dimitris Arsenidis took advantage of a loose ball to fire into the back of the net.

It was cruel blow for O’Brien’s team who deserved to celebrate a victory in front of a large crowd, although they can take many positives into their next game against Czech Republic in Waterford on Monday, May 6.

After one game played each it is all square in Group A as Czech Republic drew 1-1 with Belgium in an earlier game. So it’s all to play for!

Republic of Ireland: Bazunu; McEvoy, Omobamidele, Sobowale (Garcia McNulty 66), Furlong; Hodge, Keogh; Everitt (Kennedy 90), McCann (McKinley 80), Ebosele; McCarty.

Greece: Tzolakis; Tsavos, Panagiotou (Aslanidis 84), Pavlidis, Aventisian; Karamperis, Siatounis (Liatsos 66); Sourlis (Belevonis 85), Grosdis (Arsendis 84), Karakoutis (Kotopoulos 73); Tzolis.

Referee: Jorgen Burchardt (Denmark).

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