CASTLEBAR'S Darragh Reilly played the full game for the Irish Under 15s today in their impressive 1-1 draw with Spain.
The hosts went on to win a developmental penalty shootout 4-1 in the opening match of the international tournament. Under tournament rules, all drawn matches conclude with a penalty shootout. Tommy Fogarty scored Ireland's only successful penalty.
Ireland took the lead on the stroke of half-time when a brilliant counter-attack saw Cian Kelly score past Spanish goalkeeper Cesar Fernandez.
Spain equalised through David Pecellin in the 50th minute and neither team were able to break down the opposition's defence before full-time.
Head coach Jason Donohue was pleased with Ireland's display. He said: “Our game plan worked well. We played compactly in the first half and deserved to go in at the break in the lead. Our back four and holding players were excellent. I think all the players were, especially in our off-season.”
With two more games to come this week, Donohue hopes the team will be able to cope with the demands, especially as the home-based players are in pre-season – including Reilly at Sligo Rovers.
“We have brought a squad of 20 with us,” explained Donoghue. “There will be a lot of changes for the Netherlands game on Friday. The players that didn't play today will be fresh for that match.”
Ireland play their second match of the tournament on Friday afternoon against the Netherlands at 4 p.m. (Irish time) before Sunday's concluding fixture against Hungary.