THE Republic of Ireland U19 side went down to a disappointing 3-1 defeat by Slovakia at the U19 National Team Tournament in La Manga on Tuesday afternoon.
The Ireland team included Finn Harps goalkeeper, Lee McCarron, who made his debut.
Both sides ended up being reduced to ten men in a scrappy encounter which brought the tournament to a close for Tom Mohan's side.
The highlight of the four-team event from an Irish perspective was Sunday's 1-0 win over Portugal and Mohan started just three of the players that were in the starting line-up against the Portuguese.
The Slovaks had the better of the first half and McCarron, from Buncrana, made a couple of important saves to ensure Ireland went in at the break only a goal behind.
After weathering the storm Ireland equalised in the 54th minute when captain Darragh Leahy got his head to a free-kick fired in by Josh Barrett from the right flank and steered the ball home from eight yards out.
Unfortunately the Irish resolve was broken once again in the 65th minute when Slovakia scored a second following a short corner.
Their third came from another set-piece situation which killed off the Irish challenge.
Ireland's focus now will be on next month's UEFA Elite Qualifying Round when they have a tough draw including Italy, Sweden and Belgium, who will host the mini-tournament.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Lee McCarron, Shane Hanney, Barry Cotter, Darragh Leahy, Trevor Clarke, JJ Lunney, Thomas O’Connor, Jayson Molumby, Anthony Scully, Josh Barrett, Michael O’Connor. Subs: Ronan Hale for Scully 46, Conor Kane for Molumby 46, Tyreke Wilson for Clarke 46.