Excellent display by Arklow against Ireland U-16 squad
Arklow Town 0, Ireland 1: Arklow Town Football Club welcomed Irish national manager Vincent Butler and his Republic of Ireland under 16 side to Lamberton on Wednesday evening last for a game against the home club’s acclaimed under -16 side.
The third fixture between the sides over the past year proved to be a tight affair, similar in pattern to the previous two encounters.
Returning from injury, Town’s Jack Tim Murphy created the first opening, for Keith Armstrong, but the latter failed to capitalise on the through ball.
A foul on David Murphy gave the Irish side a free kick on the edge of the Town penalty area, and though Daniel Purdy’s effort went wide it served to give Town advance warning of his potency from deadball situations.
Paul Rice cleared well after the Irish put together a nice move down the left flank as the national team threatened to get on top. Enjoying a good spell, the national side then spurned a glorious opportunity to score when the home defence was left wide open with Daniel McGuinness seeing his goal-bound effort superbly pushed around the far post by Town’s keeper, Jason Earls.
With the game being played over three thirty minute periods of play; both teams made changes and Town began to gain the upper hand with a succession of raids down both wings.
Daniel Ledwith, cutting in from the left, beat Irish defender Conor Morrissey and had an effort on goal superbly blocked by Gary Merritt. Shane Murray then crossed from the right wing with William Flanagan perfectly placed to strike.
Unfortunately for the home side Flanagan missed his golden opportunity. Town, enjoying a strong period of dominance, went closer still moments later when Dara Verney saw his effort rebound off the crossbar after a goalmouth scramble. The loose ball then rebounded off the foot of the post and was cleared.
It was to prove decisive later in the game as try as they did the home side struggled to breach a strong Irish back four.
The third period of play began as the second had finished, with Town still probing for an opening. Shane Murray went on a lengthy run, weaving his way into the Irish box and his crossed effort to the back post was cleared.
Tired legs began to tell as the Irish lads began to ask questions of Town’s defence. A late challenge on Crumlin United’s Daniel Purdy saw the Irish given a free kick on the left edge of the Arklow area. Purdy himself stepped up to fire home the dead ball, much to the annoyance of the home side who should really have cleared.
A surging run at the heart of the Irish defence by Adam Han- lon almost saw the Town player in for a clear strike on goal. However, about to pull the trigger from the edge of the box, the impressive Robert Maloney blocked Hanlon’s goal-bound effort.
The final whistle blew soon afterwards, securing a 1-0 win for the Irish side. Arklow, though downbeat with the manner in which they lost the game, can take great heart from the commitment and application put into giving the national team a stern test, acknowledged afterwards by Irish team manager Vincent Butler as he prepares his side for a tough trek to Turkey.
The Arklow Town U-16 team who played Ireland.