Republic of Ireland were held in their opening fixture of the UEFA U-19 Championship Elite Round, as they drew 1-1 with Austria at Turner’s Cross in Cork on Monday afternoon, reports fai.ie.
Saoirse Noonan’s towering header at the beginning of the second half cancelled out a stunning finish from Austria’s Johanna Schneider and was enough to see Ireland begin Group 4 with a point.
Austria began the game the better side and they twice went close to grabbing the lead early on but both Johanna Schneider and Laura Krumbock failed to trouble goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon.
Ireland threatened to grab an opener in the 20th minute but after forcing a succession of corners, Shelbourne Ladies midfielder Tiegan Ruddy drove her effort well over the target.
And almost immediately following Ireland’s best spell in the match, Austria charged up the other end and broke the deadlock with Schneider finding the far bottom left corner with a superb lob from the edge of the box.
Austria finished the half strongly but they were punished for not taking their opportunities at the beginning of the second 45 as Noonan levelled terms, powering her header home at the back post from a corner shortly after the restart.
Both sides pressed for a winner and Lauryn O’Callaghan went closest for Ireland late on but after being played in by Noonan, the defender’s thunderous shot was saved by goalkeeper Milena Zink.
Next up for the Irish is a tough fixture against Spain at Turner’s Cross on Thursday evening.
— FAIreland ⚽?? (@FAIreland) April 2, 2018
Ireland Head Coach Dave Connell said: “First half we showed a little bit of nervousness and probably Austria shaded it without really dominating it. They caught us on the break for our own set-play so that was disappointing.
“We re-grouped at half-time, had a good chat and changed the formation slightly and I thought we dominated the second half which shows great testament to the character of the girls. Overall, we’re a little bit disappointed we didn’t win but we’ll settle for the draw and it keeps us in the group.
“I think the character the team showed and the belief that’s in the squad is something they can take into the next game.”
Republic of Ireland U-19s: Naoisha McAloon; Lynn Craven, Niamh Farrelly, Sadhbh Doyle, Chloe Singleton; Alex Kavanagh, Tiegan Ruddy, Saoirse Noonan; Megan Mackey (Orla Casey 89), Alannah McEvoy (Naima Chemaou 57), Sinead Donovan (Lauryn O’Callaghan 57).