Cork City U19s announced Ireland's presence on the UEFA Youth League stage with an impressive 0-0 draw in Helsinki today.
Steven Bermingham's side will return to Turner's Cross in the second leg, having dominated the occasion with Kevin Taylor's free-kick hitting the bar in the second-half.
Best of luck to the Cork City u19's tonight in the UEFA Youth League vs Helsinki FC.September 28, 2016
The Rebel Army started the game confidently as Ireland's first-ever representative in Europe's elite youth competition and could have gone ahead just six minutes in but Cian Coleman saw his goal-bound shot well saved.
Cork City's Garan Manley went off injured shortly after, who went for a scan after the game, but this didn't deter Bermingham's young guns who continued to make the early running.
HJK Helsinki goalkeeper Robin Kallman continued to be kept busy by the lively Coleman as just after the half-hour, Kallman was at full stretch to deny the Rebel Army's low shot on goal.
The chances kept coming for the away side before the break as both Alex Byrne's effort went narrowly wide and Conor McCarthy's shot was saved as Helsinki failed to muster a single effort on goal in the first-half.
The second-half continued in the same manner as Cork continued to create.
The best chance came 18 minutes from the end as Kevin Taylor's fantastic free-kick crashed off the cross-bar and away to safety.
HJK mustered a late onslaught with a number of late corners and chances but the Rebel Army held out to take a positive result back to Turner's Cross on Wednesday, October 19, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Cork City U19s coach Stephen Bermingham said: "It's a fantastic result and we're absolutely delighted with the performance. It's great for the players and the club, but I think to come away to a strong side like Helsinki is a great signal for the entire league and under-age set-up in Ireland.
"It was a tough game for us, no question. We created a lot of opportunities in the first-half and could have gone ahead.
"We dominated the first 20 minutes in the second-half but they got on top in the closing stages which is always going to happen.
"We went with a game-plan after doing work on Helsinki and I think they found us very difficult to deal with.
"We had chances to win it and that is a great signal for us in the second-leg.
"I think playing in front of a packed Turner's Cross could almost be worth a goal for us, a huge help. We're hopeful the support will come out and I'm sure the Helsinki team won't quite know what to expect. It will be a huge advantage and we're very much looking forward to it."
HJK Helsinki: Kallman (GK), Bockerman, Olander, Halme, Vesiaho, Jama (C), Ylatupa, Lingman, Stavitski (Jalkanen 83), Hyokyvirta (Ulmanen 77) Kouassivi-Benissan (Malolo 66).
Subs: Mattila (GK), Malolo, Hieta, Salmi, Vertainen.
Cork City: Coffey (GK), Taylor, Phillips, Manley (O'Sullivan 14), McCarthy, Coleman (C), Byrne, Drinan, Fernandes, Ogbene, O'Riordan (Welch 67).
Subs: Mylod (GK), Crowley, Leonard, O'Regan, Hurley.
Yellow card(s): McCarthy, Stavitski.