Our U21 side completed their Group C fixtures at the 2019 Toulon Tournament with a one nil victory over Bahrain on Sunday afternoon in the Stade Jules Ladoumegue to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition. The winning goal came on thirty three minutes from a wickedly deflected Connor Ronan free-kick. Ronan was once again the stand out Irish player.
Progress to the knock-out stage is excellent but the performance this afternoon was sadly lacking against the weakest team in the Group. Ireland did dominate the opening half and had a number of chances which were spurned. Immediately following the deflected goal Ireland were correctly awarded a penalty kick which was taken by captain Jason Molumby, despite regular spot-kick taker Adam Idah being on the pitch, having replaced the injured Zach Elbouzedi on twenty seven minutes. Molumby‘s penalty was saved by the goalkeeper but fell directly to the incoming Josh Barrett who disappointingly shot wide.
The second half Irish performance was very disappointing and could have proved calamitous but for one excellent save from goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. The mid-afternoon heat may have been a factor but, we were sluggish, sloppy and disjointed throughout much of the half.
Manager Stephen Kenny must be concerned at the paucity of the second half performance and together with his coaching team will seek to address the matter before the semi-final against Brazil at 4.30pm (Irish time) on Wednesday afternoon. The other semi-final between Japan and Mexico takes place at 2pm that same afternoon.
P W D L F A GD Pts
Ireland 3 2 1 0 5 1 4 7
Mexico 3 2 1 0 3 0 3 7
China 3 1 0 2 5 6 -1 3
Bahrain 3 0 0 3 1 7 -6 0
C Kelleher; L O’Connor, D O’Shea, L Scales, D Leahy; J Knight, J Molumby: Z Elbouzedi, C Ronan, J Barrett; A Connolly
A Idah for Elbouzedi 27′
C Coventry for Knight 46′
S Power for Barrett 67′
J Taylor for Ronan 78′