Ireland succumb to two Sweet strikes

England withstood Ireland’s late fightback to win this decisive Under-18 Centenary Shield tie at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton last night.

Behind by two goals at the break, the Irish cut the arrears 15 minutes from the end through Sean Maguire’s header but then saw two efforts come back off the woodwork.

Knowing only a win would regain the five-nation shield, Ireland began brightly and Pierce Sweeney brought the best out of goalkeeper Conor Sidley-James with a towering header on 16 minutes.

However, the visitors were stung 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.

Sweet grabbed his second just before half-time when his snapshot from 10 yards squirmed through the hands of Comerford and into the net.

Maguire got the Irish off the mark when he headed Danny Morrissey’s throw-in into the top corner but despite relentless attacks, including one effort that came back off the crossbar, they failed to draw level.

IRELAND: E. Comerford (CBS, Clonmel); C. Horgan (Coláiste Einde), P. Sweeney (Coláiste Raithin, Bray), J. O’Brien (Yeat’s College, Galway), A. O’Donnell (Carrigaline Community School); D. Morrissey (Midleton CBS), P. Moffatt (Clonkeen College, Blackrock), B. Lenihan (Presentation, Cork), S. Russell (Coláiste Phadraig, Lucan); B. Sheedy (Coláiste Iosaef, Kilmallock), S. Maguire (CBS Kilkenny).

Subs: J. Kavanagh (Oatlands College) for O’Donnell (37), R. Lehane (Douglas CS) for Sheedy (h/t), T Molloy (Coláiste Iognáid, Galway) for Moffat (67), J. Doherty (Comeragh College) for Russell (73), Ryan Matthews (Clonkeen College, Blackrock) for Lenihan (86)

ENGLAND: Sidley-Adams; Axford, Newton, Mobbs, Downey; Pounce, Davies, Fouhy, Mooney; Glen-Ravenhill, Sweet.

Subs: Artwell for Mooney (h/t), Bruce for Mobbs (60), Venning for Downey (73), Bunney for Glen-Ravenhill (90).

Referee: Dave Phillips.

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