Republic of Ireland complete first task in quest for four points
Nothing pretty about the fare on offer but the draw was welcome for the Irish, with Romania due in Sligo on Tuesday
Under-21 manager Harry McCue.
Romania 0 Republic of Ireland 0: Harry McCue’s aim of collecting four Uefa Under-21 Championship qualifying points from the double-header against Romania is on track following this stalemate in Piatra Neamt.
There was nothing pretty about the fare on offer, but the draw was welcome for the Irish, with Romania due in Sligo on Tuesday.
Once Ireland got a grip in midfield, they began to pose their inexperienced opposition some problems. Seán Murray had the measure of his marker on the right and almost executed a fine surge with the opener on the half hour only for goalkeeper Laurentiu Branescu to produce a smart save .
Opportunities continued to be traded before the break, but Forde and, once again, Murray, both shot wide from promising positions.
Aside from a couple of chances spurned by Forde and Matt Doherty, the second half swung the way of the Romanians.
Romario Benzar and Andrei Ciolacu each saw drives whistle past McCarey’s post in quick succession, before McCarey conjured the save of the match four minutes from the end to foil Alexandra Cretu.
“This well-deserved point puts us right in contention for second place,” said Ireland’s interim manager McCue afterwards. “We knew Romania would come at us early in the game but we restricted them to minimal chances. If anything, our lads are disappointed not to have won it.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: A McCarey (Wolves); A O’Connor (Torquay Utd), S Duffy (Yeovil Town), D Williams (Bristol City), S McGinty (Sheffield Utd); M Doherty (Wolves), C Reilly (Birmingham City); S Murray (Watford), C Smith (Watford), A Forde (Wolves); A O’Brien (Millwall). Sub: F Sutherland (QPR) for Smith (78 mins).
Referee: Yuriy Mozharovskyy (UKR).