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Fionnan Coyle a substitute as Ireland U-16s stage comeback  against Israel

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Fionnan Coyle a substitute as Ireland U-16s stage comeback  against Israel

Fionnan Coyle

Two second-half Republic of Ireland goals saw Paul Osam's side complete a turn-around in their opening game of the UEFA Development Tournament against hosts Israel.

Evan Ferguson and substitute Robbie Mahon scored within 15 minutes of the break to seal a deserved victory in Shefayim.

Israel took the lead against the run of play in the 12th minute with a stunning left-footed strike from Nehorai Yifrah past Daniel Rose. Ireland reacted well following the early set-back and were the stronger team going into half time and were unlucky to go in behind.

They started the second-half on the front foot and equalised inside three minutes with Ferguson collecting a Mahon cross to turn his defender and slot home from close range.

Mahon, who was a constant threat to the Israeli backline following his introduction, scored 10 minutes later collecting the through-ball with one touch before lashing it home inside the box for the goal that proved to be the winner.

He could have made it 3-1 when he was put through and beat the keeper but saw his effort hit the post and roll agonisingly on the line. Ireland were able to withstand a late surge by Israel and Rose made two vital saves late on to preserve the lead and get them off to the perfect start.

Speaking after the game Ireland Under-16s Head Coach Paul Osam said: "We played well in the first half and we were unlucky to be going into the break behind - I always felt we could go on and score. We corrected one or two things we needed to in the second half and the boys responded excellently and we were relatively comfortable after that.

"Robbie Mahon made a great contribution to the game. It's his first time with us and he has a bright future ahead of him. He provided for a great finish for Evan (Ferguson) and went on to score.

"We're delighted with the result they had a couple of chances towards the end and Daniel Rose has made a couple of big saves for us. Now we look forward to taking on Fiji who will present a different challenge to us."

Republic of Ireland: Daniel Rose (GK), Gavin O'Brien (capt) (Kailin Barlow 71), Kevin Platon, Oisin Hand, Adam Wells, Kyle Conway (Robbie Mahon 40), Colin Conroy, Sinclair Armstrong (Callum Kavanagh 71), Ben McCormack (Glory Nzingo), Oran Crowe (Jamie Doyle 40), Evan Ferguson.

Subs: Andrew Moran, Daragh Reilly, Josh Keeley, Fionnan Coyle.

Israel: Shabtai Ran Hashpia (GK), Amit Kodman, Itay Alon (Firas Al Sanah 51), Hadar Fuchs (Osher Eliyahu 75) Yair Kanichowsky, Anar Ushmandi (Muhammad Amer 75), Aviv Kanarik, Elad Kaplan (Ron Arie 58), Bar Nuhi (Omer Senior 40), Nehorai Yifrah (Ismail Soboh 75), Amer Altoury (Ebrahem Bader 58).

Subs: Ismail Soboh, Guy Levi, Dvir Nir, Amer Altour.

UEFA Under-16 Development Tournament - Result
29/4: Israel 1-2 Republic of Ireland, Shefayim

UEFA Under-16 Development Tournament - Fixtures
1/5: Fiji v Republic of Ireland, Shefayim, 3pm (1pm Irish time)
3/5: Republic of Ireland v Ukraine, Shefayim, 9.30am (7.30am Irish time)