A Jean Yves Poame goal at Coolock’s Oscar Traynor Centre last night saw Ireland’s Under-15 side defeat Finland in a friendly played on a still night on Dublin’s northside. In the first of two friendly internationals in three days between the two nations, Niall Harrisons Ireland side had the basis of a strong first half performance to thank for their victory.
It was from Malahide United’s Zacharay Elbouzedi’s corner that Corduff FC midfielder Poame struck the decisive goal. Shortly after Stephen Kinsella of Templeogue United was put through on goal by the always energetic Brandon Payne but Kinsella was thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Jere Pirainen who also saved well from Kinsella’s own shot five minutes later.
Finand’s best chance came shortly before the interval when Niilo Mäenpää had a long distance effort that was saved by St. Kevins Boys’ Corey Chambers. Chamber’s club team mate Robert McCourt and Lucan United’s Conor Masterson had to offer concentrated defensive performances in order aide their side to hold on to a tight lead.
Irish Manager Niall Harrison was satisfied with the win but was aware of the treat possessed by the Finnish attack, saying, “I felt we played okay in the first half but in the second half we never really got going at all. We went aware from the principles of what we were trying to do. The Finns came out for the second half and were an awful lot brighter than we were on and off the ball. We won the game. It wasn’t pretty but it’s not always going to be pretty and it was enough to get a win but I’d have preferred to see better from us in the second half.
Harrison won’t have to wait long to see his side tested again with the second game at noon on Thursday at Swords Celtic home ground in north County Dublin. Thursdays side will have a different complexion with Harrison saying he will try out those who didn’t feature in Coolock.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Corey Chambers; Ismael Diallo, Conor Masterson, Robert McCourt, Seán Whelan, Jean Yves Poame, Jesse Stafford Lacey, Brandon Payne, Zachary Elbouzedi, Steven Kinsella, Mark Buckley. Subs: Conor Davis for Buckley 58 mins; Conor Levingston for Stafford Lacey 65.
FINLAND: Jere Piirainen; Kalle Salmi, William Lindqvist, Joonas Sundman, Alfred Söderman, Omar Jama, Kaan Kairinen, Mikko Jalkanen, Mikael Soisalo, Lassi Lappalainen, Samu Alanko. Subs: Saikou Ceesay for Söderman 41; Niilo Mäenpää for Kairinen 41; Lucas Lingman for Lappalainen 41; Otto Lahikainen for Soisalo 67; Riku Tamminen for Alanko 67.
REFEREE: Ben Connolly.