Noel King was very pleased with the character shown by his extremely young U21 squad as they secured a draw with Qatar’s Olympic squad in a friendly in Aachen on Saturday.
The Ireland boss brought a completely new-look squad to Germany and an injury-time header from Aston Villa’s Mason Watkins-Clark levelled the game.
Qatar had taken the lead through Ahmed Alaaddin in the 32nd minute, when he burst through to fire past Ian Lawlor.
“It was a great boost to all the players to see the equaliser go in. They had shown great character and created so many chances in the final 25 minutes in particular that it was looking like it may not happen for us,” said King.
“The goal was the very last action of the game but we’ll go home with a smile on our faces. Everybody played and there were 15 players making first appearances at this level. It was a very competitive game against a very tough opponent.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: I Lawlor, B Lenihan, J Connors, S Griffin, P Sweeney, J Byrne, M Watkins-Clark, D Lenihan, K McEvoy, W Hayhurst, M Drennan.
Subs: K Sadlier for Hayhurst (40), B Garmston for Connors (46), L Gallagher for Sweeney (46), B Lewis for B Lenihan (46), C Wilkinson for Drennan (46), J Merz for Lawlor (60), K Feely for McEvoy (60).