Ireland indomitable

 

The Republic of Ireland under-16s remained on course for Saturday's final of the Nordic Cup after the narrowest of wins over the hosts, Iceland, in Saudarkrokur last night.

A constant downpour mitigated against Brian Kerr's side winning by a much greater scoreline in a match they dominated from start to finish. The game was watched by Minster for Sport Jim McDaid, who is due to address a tourism conference today.

Ireland, fresh from Tuesday's 4-0 opening win over Denmark, soon took command. With skipper Clifford Byrne outstanding in the centre of defence, blotting out anything the Icelanders launched goalwards, Kerr's youngsters fought as much against the treacherously slippery conditions as they did against an Iceland team which suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Norway in their first game.

Despite their difficulties, Ireland's goal after 16 minutes was delightfully made and clinically executed. Andy Reid skipped past three tackles on the left wing to deliver a centre and Robert Doyle arrived to score with a powerful header.

Ireland remained in control, running up a corner count of 15-3 in their favour, but, due to poor finishing, and some excellent goalkeeping, just couldn't build on their winning lead.

Ireland meet Norway, who beat Denmark 2-1 last night, in what is effectively a semi-final tomorrow evening in Dalvik (6.0).

Republic Of Ireland: Harpur (Chelsea); Fanzantan (Tolka Rovers), Byrne (Sunderland), Coleman (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Murray (Blackburn Rovers); Melligan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Lester (Everton), Reid (Nottingham Forest); Doyle (Ardmore Rovers), Creamer (Leeds United), Robinson (Middlesbrough. Subs: McNamara (Nottingham Forest) and Daly (Kilnamanagh) for Creamer and Doyle (both at half-time), Larkin (Muirhevnamor) for Melligan (64 mins.).