Ireland pegged back by Belgium in thriller

Ireland U15s were twice pegged back yesterday by Belgium in Killarney as they drew 3-3 in the second of this week’s double-header.

Malike Benrouggibbi, one of eight changes from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw between the nations, fired Ireland into a 26th minute lead before skipper Dan Casey added a second from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Belgium deservedly clawed their way back through substitute Jeff Callebaut and a Youri Tielemans penalty 14 minutes from time. Sean Byrne restored Ireland’s lead from a free-kick but Jeff Callebaut made it 3-3 in stoppage time.

Meanwhile the Irish U17 women team were denied victory by Belgium in Liege. Goals by Clare Shine and Amber Barrett had Harry Kenny’s side in cruise control but they conceded twice, the equaliser coming in the final minutes, as they completed preparations for the UEFA elite qualifiers in Norway from March 19-24.

Ireland U15 team (v Belgium): E Moran (Home Farm); J Tuite (Cherry Orchard), D. Casey (St Joseph’s Boys), D. Kane (Cherry Orchard), E Osam (St Kevin’s Boys); D Grant-O’Sullivan (Kilreen Celtic), R. Corbally (Woodlawn/Sportslink), C Coleman (Kilreen Celtic); D. Tobin (St Kevin’s Boys), J. Devers (Manulla), M Benrouggibbi (St. Joseph’s Boys).

Subs: Evan Farrell (Shelbourne FC) for Moran (50), S Elworthy (St Kevin’s Boys) for Grant, C Melody (Mervue Utd) for Devers, C Fogarty (Woodlawn) for Coleman (all 60), Shane McLoughlin (Killorglin FC) for Benrouggibbi (65 mins), Sean Byrne (St Joseph’s FC) for Corbally, Shane Whelan (Lourdes Celtic) for Tobin (70).

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