Soccer: Irish Schools start campaign with a win

The Football Association of Irish Schools International team opened their international campaign with a two nil win over New Zealand at Glebe North Balbriggan.

The Football Association of Irish Schools International team opened their international campaign with a two nil win over New Zealand at Glebe North Balbriggan.

This was the first outing of the season for the Irish as their game against Scotland last February was washed out an their lack of match practice showed in the opening 45 minutes.

Both sides started tentatively and chances were few and far between. The visitors had the first chance of the game as they swept forward on twenty minutes. The ball was spread wide right to the dangerous Mark Bland. His low cross was met by the incoming Steven Old and his thundering shot went just wide of the upright.

That seemed to spur the Irish and Alan McCormack went close with a free kick while Lorcan Cronin also tested the Kiwi goalkeeper with a fine close range effort.

Cronin opened the scoring on 49 minutes. New Zealand failed to clear the ball and as the defence hesitated Cronin pounced to slot the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

The goal settled the Irish and they pushed forward looking for more goals. William Doyle went close with a shot from the top of the penalty area while Kevin Walsh who excelled in the middle of the field crashed a 25-yard left footer off the crossbar.

The inevitable second goal came on 65 minutes. A short free kick found McCormack and he rifled a low right footed shot into the bottom corner.

The Irish nearly had a third when Doyle’s cheeky chip almost caught the goalkeeper unawares six minutes later but the Kiwi managed to get a finger to the ball and touched it out for a corner.

Manager James Rodgers was pleased with the performance.

"It took us almost the entire first half to settle and the goal early in the second half was perfect. It was an excellent start, particularly with the game against England on Wednesday."

The Irish now travel to Lowestoft to take on England on Wednesday night.

Rep of Ireland: P Durcan, V Tyrrell, B Hynes, B Manley, F Horan, B McKenna, A McCormack, W Doyle, L Cronin, S Murphy, K Walsh.

Subs: P Ferry, J Nolan, E O Driscoll, M Buckley, N Gallagher (All used)

New Zealand: A Chambers, W Lourie, P Howe, W McClure, N Strom, M Cunneen, N Fry (W Rooker 59’), M Bland, S Old, P Halstead (J Smith 65’), R McKenzie.

Referee: D McKeown (Dublin)

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