Our Under 21 side, with Stephen Kenny at the helm, finished fourth in the 2019 Toulon Tournament when they lost out in a penalty shoot-out to Mexico in the third place play-off contest early on Saturday afternoon. The two sides had played out a scoreless draw when they met in the Group stage on Thursday the 6th June and today again the contest finished scoreless in the Stade Marcel Roustan.
In this, their fifth contest at the Tournament, Stephen Kenny chose to start the three outfield squad members, Canice Carroll, Tyreke Wilson and Jamie Lennon, who had not been used during the opening quartet of matches while the fourth unused player, goalkeeper Conor Kearns, was introduced from the substitute bench after sixty four minutes.
The contest was similar to their earlier Group meeting with both sides enjoying a fair degree of possession without really creating a positive goal scoring chance until perhaps the final action of the ninety minutes when Barnet midfielder Jack Taylor blazed over from an excellent position.
There were some excellent performances from Ireland with the defensive trio of Lee O’Connor, Conor Masterson and Liam Scales all looking composed in their play. Taylor also caught the eye in midfield, his performance suggesting that he is more than capable of performing at a higher level than his current club Barnet.
Up front, both Aaron Drinan and Stephen Mallon worked tirelessly as did all of their colleagues against a much more experienced Mexico, for whom virtually all of their players play first team football at a much higher level.
Ireland captain Jayson Molumby, who was rested today, was named by the organisers as one of the top four players at the Tournament.
With five of this U21 squad, Lee O’Connor, Conor Coventry, Jason Knight, Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah, eligible for our Under 19 side who will contest the European U19 Championship Finals in Armenia between the 14th and 27th July 2019, we should look forward with eager anticipation to watching Tom Mohan‘s team in action.
Caoimhin Kelleher(Liverpool); Lee O’Connor(Manchester United), Conor Masterson(Liverpool), Liam Scales(UCD), Tyreke Wilson(Manchester City); Canice Carroll(Brentford), Jamie Lennon(St Patricks Athletic); Jason Knight(Derby County), Jack Taylor(Barnet), Stephen Mallon(Sheffield United); Aaron Drinan(Ipswich Town)
Aaron Connolly(Brighton & HA) for Mallon 58′
Darragh Leahy(Bohemian) for Wilson 58′
Conor Kearns(UCD) for Kelleher 64′
Connor Ronan(Wolverhampton Wanderers) for Knight 75′
Adam Idah(Norwich City) for Drinan 78′