Paul Osam’s Republic of Ireland Under-16s began their season with an excellent 4-2 win away to Bulgaria, in Sofia.
Ireland began the match excellently, scoring twice in the opening ten minutes. Ben McCormack opened the scoring in the seventh minute, before Louie Barry scored his first of the game a minute later.
Despite leading 2-0, Ireland went in level at the break, after conceding twice in the final 15-minutes of the first-half. Martin Smolenski scored from close range, before Dimitar Ivanov scored just before the break from a corner.
Paul Osam’s side retook the lead after the break inside 60-seconds. Billy Vance scored to make it 3-2 to the visitors before Barry scored his second goal two minutes later.
Ireland ended the game with ten men, as Ronan Kilkenny was sent off for two yellow cards with 15-minutes left. Despite that, Osam’s side held out to record the win.
Under-16 Head Coach Paul Osam said his side could have won the game by a bigger margin.
“We could have been leading 4-0 after 20-minutes. Louie Barry was electric. His pace caused Bulgaria plenty of problems.
“We played the final period with ten men. Ronan was very unlucky to get sent off. The team coped brilliantly playing 10 v 11. We had the better of the chances, playing with a man less.
The teams meet once more on Thursday, in Sofia. Kick-off is at 3pm (Irish time).
Republic of Ireland: Josh Keeley; Gavin O’Brien (Fionnan Coyle 55), Oisin Hand, Anselmo Garcia MacNulty, Ronan Kilkenny; Kyle Conway, Lee Harkin (Colin Conroy 55), Ben McCormack (Andrew Morgan 67); Billy Vance, Louie Barry (Calum Kavanagh 72), Roland Banya (Daniel Gildea 55).