Republic of Ireland U-19s were beaten 3-1 by Portugal in the first of three tournament games this week, which are in preparation for the UEFA Elite Round in April.
Ireland say that despite a bright start with a number of chances created, Portugal found themselves 2-0 up at the break due to two defensive errors, Andreia Faria and Neuza Besugo both taking advantage.
Cork City’s Saoirse Noonan pulled one back for Ireland early in the second-half after she beat the keeper to Tiegan Ruddy’s free-kick to finish.
Ireland continued to press for the equaliser but the hosts added a third to seal the victory through Beatriz Conduto, with Shelbourne defender Ruddy sent off for two bookable offences, which will rule her out of the game against England on Friday.
Despite the defeat, Ireland U-19 Head Coach Dave Connell was impressed by the quality of the young players in the squad but hopes his side can cut out the mistakes in the next two games.
Connell told fai.ie: “We had a few chances early doors to go in front but we couldn’t take them and we were made to pay at the other end. We were chasing the game then but we got ourselves back into it and again, we’ve had a number of chances but couldn’t take them.
“It’s been good for us as we’ve been able to get the whole squad on the pitch and give everyone a run out. Alannah McEvoy came on for the second half and was very good, and some of the other young players were very bright.
“We’ve got to do a lot better against England on Friday. We’re out of season domestically and Portugal are in the middle of theirs but this is why it is great preparation.”
Republic of Ireland U-19s: Erica Turner, Lynn Craven, Niamh Farrely (C), Lauryn O’Callaghan, Phoebe Warner, Alex Kavanagh, Saoirse Noonan, Doireann Fahey, Jade Reddy, Danielle Burke, Kate Mooney.
Substitutes: Sadabh Doyle, Tiegan Ruddy, Megan Mackey, Alannah McEvoy, Naoisha McAloon, Oria Casey, Andrea Trill, Katie Burdis, Roisin McGovern.