The Republic of Ireland Schools select face a stern test against the Australian Schools select at Home Farm FC, Whitehall this Saturday, January 21 for an International Friendly scheduled to kick off at 3pm.
This will be the seventh occasion these two teams have met in the last 17 years. The visitors have enjoyed the upper hand in proceedings thus far with an impressive record. Ireland have only won once, drew twice and lost 3 times in their previous outings against the southern hemisphere side.
This will be an excellent challenge for the Manager Paddy O’Reilly (Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun) as he and his management staff make their final preparations for their Centenary Shield squad.
The Irish will play host to Wales in the opening game of their campaign when they line out against the Welsh Dragons on February 16 at Home Farm FC. O’Reilly’s crew will then travel to Belfast to take on neighbours Northern Ireland on March 2. Their penultimate clash will be away to Scotland on April 6 before they finish at home to current Champions England on April 13.
The Republic of Ireland only joined the competition back in 2003 and tasted success immediately with an outstanding three in a row in the Shield (2003, 2004, 2005) but they had to wait until 2008 to recapture the silverware as England reigned supreme. The Republic of Ireland won again in 2010 but their last victory came in 2015.
The visitors will play a total of ten games in their two week tour of the UK & Ireland with the Republic of Ireland stop their fifth competitive encounter in this hectic schedule.
The Australian lads played England Independent Schools on Sunday, January 15 in their first competitive fixture and enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 win.
The squad are scheduled to play Bristol College this afternoon, January 16. They will also line out against Welsh Colleges (Jan 18) and Welsh Schools (Jan 19).
Following the clash with the Republic of Ireland, the Aussie’s go North to take on the Northern Ireland Schools (Jan 23), Scotland Schools (Jan 25), Scotland Independent Schools (Jan 26), England Schools (Jan 28) and Shropshire Schools will conclude their visit (Jan 30) as they depart for home a few days later.
Next weekend’s fixture is a regular battle which always produces some excellent physical encounters. The last time the two sides met in January 2015, they shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw. Ireland took the lead courtesy of Georgie Poynton (Coláiste na hInse, Bettystown), as he ran onto an excellent through ball from Conor Ellis (Colaiste Pobail, Bheanntrai) and raced through to slot the ball past the advancing keeper Sam Brown.
Australia equalised on the hour mark. Matthew Millar got behind the home defence and as he shot, he was challenged by Dan Tobin (Oatlands College). The referee awarded a penalty for the challenge and Millar stepped up to stroke home from the penalty spot past the diving Corey Chambers (Gorey CS).
The Irish side lost 2-3 to the visitors back in 2012 but enjoyed their only win to the Australian’s in 2010 when the Republic recorded a 3-1 victory. Again in 2008, it ended 1-1. The Australian students have the bragging rights as they won narrowly in 2006 with a solitary goal and again in 2000 when they came out the other side of a seven goal thriller, earning themselves a 3-4 victory.
Paddy O’Reilly has selected 18 players to face their Australian counterparts following an exhaustive trialing process since the Interprovincial tournament back in October.
There are a number of key players still in contention for a Centenary Shield spot. The Schools select will play St. Patrick’s Athletic in a friendly on February 9 before the squad is confirmed for the outing against Wales on February 16 as their campaign gets underway.
O’Reilly will be hoping to have one last look at the likes of Saturday’s absentees; Evan Murphy (St. Enda’s College, Salthill), Connor Gormley (Loreto CS, Milford), Ryan Lambe (Rockwell College, Cashel) and Brian Maher (St. Paul’s College, Raheny) before his final cut is made.
The students will relish the opportunity to represent their School and Country on Saturday and we wish them the best of luck.
It’s free admission to the game so why don’t you come along on Saturday and support our future starlets.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND PROVISIONAL SQUAD: Paul MARTIN, John MARTIN (both Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown), Tunmise SOBOWALE (Mount Sion CBS SS, Waterford), Darryl WALSH (St. Declan’s CC, Waterford), John MAHON (Coola PPS, Sligo), Shane BLANEY (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), Alec BYRNE (Carrigaline CS), Ronan MANNING (Calasanctius College, Oranmore), Colm WALSH O’LOGHLEN (Rice College, Ennis), Seán McDONALD (Clonkeen College, Blackrock), Neil FARRUGIA (St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock), Neill BYRNE (Dunshaughlin CC), Vinny QUINLAN (Gorey CS), James CARROLL (St. Oliver’s CC, Drogheda), Stephen NOLAN (St. Aidan’s CBS, Whitehall), Jamie BELL, Seán McBRIDE (both St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Michael MURPHY (St. Paul’s College, Raheny)
MANAGEMENT: Paddy O’REILLY, Manager (Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun), William O’CONNOR Assistant Manager (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Ollie HORGAN, Coach (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), John McSHANE, Assistant Coach (Dublin Oak Academy, Bray), Conor FOLEY, GK Coach (Athlone Community College), Michael McGLYNN (Physio), Dr. Aidan O’COLMAIN (Team Doctor), Paul MASTERSON (Equipment Manager)
AUSTRALIA: Domenic NASCIMBEN, Daniel BLACHURA, Alex GOLLAN (Westfields Sports HS), Angus LONG (St. Peter’s Lutheran College), Mitch DOBSON (Hunter Sports HS), Chris HECKENBERG (Berwick Grammar School), Ben MORRISON (St. Mary’s Catheral College, Sydney), Blake CURREY (The Jannali HS), Nathan PHILIPS (Pacific Hills Christian School), Trevor SSEMAKULA (Victoria University Secondary College, St. Albans), Zac DUNCAN (The Hills Sports HS), Alex MALFARA (Marist College, Kogarah), Oliver PUFLETT (Shore, Sydney Church of England Grammar School), Tilmann STEWART (Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty Campus), Jake TREW (Vincentia HS), Kieran STRACHEN (Brisbane Stage HS), Hassan JALLOH (Arthur Phillip HS), Cooper BANKES-FAY (Haileybury, Edrington)
MANAGEMENT: Dean STAFRACE, Coach (Football One, Vic.), Tony OLIVERA, Manager (Dept. of Human Services, ACT.), Garry BURNETT, Trainer (Waroona District HS, WA.) Brendon FOTHERINGHAM (Tour Leader)
ROLL OF HONOUR
2015 Republic of Ireland 1-1 Australia (D)
2012 Republic of Ireland 2-3 Australia (L)
2010 Republic of Ireland 3-1 Australia (W)
2008 Republic of Ireland 1-1 Australia (D)
2006 Republic of Ireland 0-1 Australia (L)
2000 Republic of Ireland 3-4 Australia (L)