Our U19 side played out a one all draw with Norway in their opening Group B fixture at the European Championship Finals in Armenia this Monday afternoon.
With so many players not released by their clubs, together with the suspension of Tyreik Wright and illness ruling out Ciaran Brennan and Festy Ebosele there was a somewhat strange look to the starting eleven named by Head Coach Tom Mohan.
The unfamiliarity may have been a factor in the concession of a goal after just eight minutes but the players did begin to settle and get to grips with the game. Problems prevailed down our left flank where Jack James and Kameron Ledwidge, playing in unfamiliar position, did rather struggle.
Towering centre backs Oisin McEntee and Mark McGuinness were solid in defence while, the still just sixteen, Joe Hodge of Manchester City oozed quality in midfield. Lone striker Jonathan Afolabi was another who worked tirelessly.
Norway, who eliminated Germany on route to these finals, provided stubborn resistance but were eventually breached on eighty minutes by a superb strike from the excellent Hodge.
Ireland will next face one of the Tournament favourites France, who commenced their challenge with a three nil victory over the Czech Republic early this evening, at 5pm on Thursday afternoon.