U18 Boys Win Opener Against Australia

Report courtesy of John Fallon

Republic Ireland 3 - 1 Australia

Goals by Daragh Walshe, Daryl Horgan and Marwin Azimi gave the Republic of Ireland Under/18 Schools team a morale/boosting victory against Australia on Thursday at the Oscar Traynor Road Development Centre:

The friendly match was a pre/cursor to Ireland's Carnegie Centenary Shield campaign which commences on St: Patrick's Day with a game against Northern Ireland in Athlone: The Irish will also face Wales (25 March), Scotland (2 April) and England (30 April) on a round/robin basis during the course of the five/nation event:

Ireland took the initiative from the off and produced their first chance with just four minutes on the clock: Sean Skelly engineered the opening by feeding a pass to Daragh Walshe on the edge of the box and his toe/poke was turned around the post by Marc Villaescusa:

From the resulting corner, Daryl Horgan's delivery was met by a Tomas Boyle header but the post denied the Salesian College student the opener:

Tomas Boyle U18 Boys Capt

Australia, who had drawn one/all against Northern Ireland on Wednesday in the latest game of their European tour, had the ball in the net on ten minutes only for Ian Kamau's effort to be disallowed after the forward strayed into an off/side position:

Ireland remained the more dangerous side in attack and took a deserved lead on 22 minutes: Skelly sprayed a pass from central midfield to Daryl Horgan on the right flank and his superb cross into the box was met by the towering Walshe who headed the ball downwards into the corner:

That advantage lasted only six minutes as Australia availed of some hesitancy in the Irish defence to steal in and find the equaliser through Thomas McNeish's well placed low shot from ten yards:

Walshe should have had his second goal three minutes before the interval when he pounced onto Steven Dunn's misdirected header but the striker from St: Kieran's College in Kilkenny lobbed over with just the goalkeeper to beat:

Action Shot Daryl Horgan

Ireland's persistence paid off in first/half stoppage time as they regained the lead: The industrious Tom O'Halloran fashioned the chance with a dribble to the end/line and his cut/back into the centre allowed the onrushing Walshe to smash the ball high into the top corner:

Seconds later, Skelly spurned a great opportunity to increase the lead when he broke into the box from the inside/right position yet he dragged his shot wide of the far post:

That let/off could have proved costly early in the second half had the tourists made better of two half/chances: Firstly, on 50 minutes, Devon Gibson's speculative shot pinged off the top of the crossbar and Boyle deflected a goalbound header by Dunn over the bar on the hour:

Stung by the concession of those openings, the boys in green found their momentum again and added a third on 62 minutes following an incisive move involving two of the half/time substitutes:

Gary Shaw laid the ball towards Marwan Azimi midway into the opposition half and the Pobalscoil Rosmini pupil took one touch before unleashing a 25/yard shot which curled high into the net past Villaescusa:

Brian Nolan in action

Republic of Ireland manager Dave Archbold, in charge of the side for the first time, was a pleased man afterwards:

"The purpose of the game today was to see all the players in action and each of the 20 got a decent run/out," he said:

"It's great for the boys to get a win in their opening match of the season but most impressive was their performance: Our two wingers caused Australia trouble, especially in the first half, and we were deserving winners against a big and powerful side:

"We've organised a training weekend with the squad in early March before we take on Northern Ireland on St: Patrick's Day:"

Republic of Ireland: Marty McGinty (Deele College); Brian Nolan (St Paul's CC), Jason Dwane (St: Peter's College), Tomas Boyle (Salesian College), Nathan Murphy (Colaiste Ris); Daryl Horgan (St: Enda's College, Galway), Barry O'Mahony (Summerhill College), Sean Skelly (St: Joseph's Fairview), Tom O'Halloran (Athlone CC), Daragh Walshe (St: Kieran's College), Billy Lane (Presentation College, Athenry):

Substitutions: Marwan Azimi (Pobalscoil Rosmini) for Lane, Niall Cooney (Templeogue College) for Dawne, Gary Shaw (Patrician SS) for Walshe, Stephen Chambers (St: Fintan's) for O'Mahoney, Josh Byrne (De La Salle) for McGinty (all h/t), Shane McInerney (Athlone CC) for Nolan (50 mins), Jack Tim Murphy (St Peter's College, Wexford) for O'Halloran, Adam Hanlon (Arklow CC) for Horgan (both 58 mins), Jake Carroll (Confey CC, Leixlip) for Murphy (69 mins):

Republic of Ireland U18 Boys

Australia: Marc Villaescusa; Joel Witherdin, David Narin, Steve Dunn, Frank Violi; Mitchell Robinson, David Cain, Devon Gibson, Peter Sawan; Thomas McNeish, Ian Kamau:

Substitutes: Luke Gearin, Alex Mansueto, Jask Markham, Alex, McCracken, Brendan McLean, Branden Holt, Todd Ross, Nathan Kenyon:

Australia Boys U18

Referee: Phil Caschera: