Meath boys score as Republic reign in Spain

Story by Conall Collier

Sunday, 3rd February, 2019 8:12pm

Meath boys score as Republic reign in Spain

Ben Curtis

The Meath lads scored as the Republic of Ireland u-15s secured an impressive 3-0 victory over Hungary in the last of a three-game international friendly tournament in Spain today.

Second-half goals with a Meath flavour created a bit of history - the first time two Meath players scored in an international game.  

Ben Curtis (Shamrock Rovers) and Evan Ferguson (Bohemian FC) netted with another Bohs boy, Cian Kelly also on the mark.

The victory rounds off a successful week for the u-15s, who were undefeated in normal time in the international tournament. Ireland drew against Netherlands and Spain - losing on penalties on both occasions. 

Today, Ireland were on top throughout the first-half and it was Conor Campbell (Finn Harps) who went closest, but his low, powerful strike was palmed away by the Hungarian keeper Matyas Kiraly. 

Ireland's dominance continued after the interval and they took the lead early into the second-half. In a move straight off the training ground, Curtis found the back of the net after a well-worked short corner in the 43rd minute. 

Ireland doubled their lead with a classy counter-attack strike. Hungary failed to deal with the pace of the attack and Kelly notched his third goal of the week with a superb half-volley in the 55th minute. 

In the final minute of the game, Ireland, who saw 19 of the 20-player squad play in today's game, added a third goal through substitute Ferguson. He rose highest to flick in a right-sided free-kick to record an impressive victory to end the tournament. 

"It's a fantastic victory for the players who deserve tremendous credit for their efforts throughout the week," said U-15 Head Coach Donohue. 

"We set a goal before the game to treat this like a qualification scenario and that we needed a 3-0 victory to qualify for the next tournament. The players were really pushing in the end to get that third goal so it's great for their education as it's important they learn about qualifying for tournaments for when they get older.

"The players have been well organised throughout the week and performed excellently in every match. Spain are the best U15 side I've ever seen and we matched them in normal time so it shows that there is some talent in the group. 

"I want to thank all of the staff for their hard work throughout the week and the work continues when we return. We've got on-going assessments ahead of the next game against Cyprus in March."

Republic of Ireland - Aaron Maguire, Tommy Fogerty, John Ryan, Ben Curtis, Luke McGlynn, Conor Campbell, Michael Leddy, John Joe Power, Darragh Reilly), Ben Quinn, Sean Grehan. Subs - Cian Kelly for Campbell 36 mins, Glory Nzingo for Curtis and Ciaran O'Sullivan for Leddy, Jamie Mullins for Power Edwin Agabje for Reilly Evan Ferguson for Quinn all 53 mins, Aaron O'Reilly for Fogerty, Craig King for Ryan 61m,

Referee: Marcos Navarro Quinonero (Spain).

Results - International U15 Tournament
30th January -  Republic of Ireland 1-1 Spain (1-4 pens).
1st February -  Republic of Ireland 2-2 Netherlands (2-4 pens).
3rd February - Republic of Ireland 3-0 Hungary.

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