Two first half goals by England did the damage at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton on Thursday night as the Republic of Ireland spurned the chance of winning the U-18 Centenary Shield.
Republic of Ireland 1
The Irish side managed by St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny teacher Ollie Horgan went into the game knowing only a win would secure the title - following draws with Wales and Scotland and a win over Northern Ireland.
Friday’s result means England take the Shield with 10 points from four games. Wales came second with six points ahead of Ireland on five, while Scotland picked up four and Northern Ireland three.
The opener arrived in the 33rd minute after Peter Glen-Ravenhill split the Irish defence with a pass to allow his strike partner Michael Sweet slot home an angled drive through the legs of ‘keeper Evan Comerford.
Ireland thought they’d equalised five minutes later when the impressive Sean Maguire from Waterford United tapped in but referee Dave Phillips harshly disallowed the effort for a foul by Barry Sheedy on the goalkeeper in the build-up.
To compound their woe, Ireland conceded again five minutes before the interval. A stray Irish pass allowed England break on the counter and Sweet’s snapshot from 10 yards squirmed through the hands of Comerford and into the net.
UCD winger Sean Russell led Ireland’s response after the break with a free-kick that struck the wall while Maguire remained lively.
The Waterford United striker eventually got his reward with 15 minutes left when Danny Morrissey’s long throw-in bounced up into the striker’s path and he powered his header high into the top corner.
A relentless wave of attack by the Irish had England reeling and the equaliser almost came eight minutes from time as Brian Lenihan struck the post with a low drive after Maguire’s shot was only parried by Sidley-Adams.
Substitute Jack Doherty went even closer in stoppage time when his free-kick hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out.