Head Coach Jim Crawford saw his Republic of Ireland U21 side come from behind to defeat Wales by two goals to one in a friendly international played in Colliers Park, Wrexham early this Friday afternoon. The very blustery conditions in the largely exposed training facility were far from ideal but both sides did endeavour to play constructive football. The hosts had the advantage of the wind in the first half and took the lead after 12 minutes through Joe Adams. The remainder of the half was fairly even with Ireland maintaining much possession in their own half largely through centre backs Mark McGuinness and Andrew Omobamidele. There were no chances created with neither goalkeeper required to make a realistic save. The second half saw Ireland raise the tempo and dominate possession without really threatening until a fine passing movement ended with Jonathan Afolabi scoring the equaliser on 75 minutes. Less than two minutes later, Ireland took the lead following the concession of a bizarre own goal by the hosts. Ireland dominated much of the later stages and Afolabi really should have converted another excellent opportunity presented to him. While the conditions were far from ideal, Jim Crawford will have garnered some valuable information regarding his charges. Goalkeeper Brian Maher had very little to do but his ability to venture from his penalty area rather like a sweeper was quite interesting. The aforementioned centre back pairing of McGuinness and Omobamidele was solid throughout while Conor Noss and Louis Watson caught the eye in midfield.
Team: Brian Maher; Lee O’Connor(c), Mark McGuinness, Andrew Omobamidele, Mason O’Malley; Luca Connell, Conor Noss, Louis Watson; Alex Gilbert, Jonatnan Afolabi, Will Ferry
Gavin Kilkenny for Gilbert 69′
Tyreik Wright for O’Malley 69′
Conor Grant for Watson 74′
Ethon Varian for Afolabi 86′
Our U21 team guided by Head Coach Jim Crawford take on Wales in a friendly international in Colliers Park, Wrexham at 1pm on Friday afternoon. The match is part of the preparatory stage for the 2023 European U21 Championships qualifying campaign which commences in September with an away double header against Bosnia & Herzegovina on the 3rd and Luxembourg on the 7th.
Goalkeepers: Sam Blair(Norwich City), Brian Maher(Bray Wanderers)
Defenders: Shane Flynn(Leicester City), Andy Lyons(Bohemian), Oisin McEntee(Newcastle United), Mark McGuinness(Ipswich Town on loan from Arsenal), Andrew Omobamidele(Norwich City), Lee O’Connor(Tranmere Rovers on loan from Glasgow Celtic), Mason O’Malley(Scunthorpe United), Lewis Richards(Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Midfielders: Luca Connell(Queens Park on loan from Glasgow Celtic), Dawson Devoy(Bohemian), Alex Gilbert(Brentford), Conor Grant(Rochdale), Gavin Kilkenny(AFC Bournemouth), Conor Noss(Borussia Monchengladbach), Louis Watson (Derby County), Tyreik Wright(Bolton Wanderers on loan from Aston Villa)b
Forwards: Jonathan Afolabi(Dundee on loan from Glasgow Celtic), Tom Cannon(Everton), Will Ferry(Southampton), Joshua Kayode(Carlisle United on loan from Rotherham United), Ethan Varian(Stoke City)