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As it happened: Republic of Ireland v Norway, U19 European Championship

Tom Mohan’s youngsters kick off their tournament in Armenia against a Norwegian side managed by Gunnar Halle.

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Good afternoon and welcome along to our liveblog for the Republic of Ireland’s opening game at the 2019 U19 European Championship finals in Armenia.

Tom Mohan’s side start their campaign against Norway at the FFA Academy Stadium in Yerevan, where kick-off will be at 3.45pm Irish time.

We’ll keep you up to date on all the action right here, so stick with us.

The Ireland starting line-up includes two debutants at U19 level — Manchester City’s Joe Hodge and Brandon Kavanagh of Shamrock Rovers.

Manchester United’s Lee O’Connor will captain the team.

Republic of Ireland

1. Brian Maher (St Patrick’s Athletic)
2. Andy Lyons (Bohemians)
3. Kameron Ledwidge (Southampton)
4. Lee O’Connor (Manchester United)
5. Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United)
6. Mark McGuinness (Arsenal)
7. Ali Reghba (Leicester City)
9. Jonathan Afolabi (Unattached)
13. Jack James (Unattached)
18. Joe Hodge (Manchester City)
19. Brandon Kavanagh (Shamrock Rovers)

Three of Ireland’s 20-man squad are unavailable for this game. Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa) is serving a suspension, while Festy Ebosele (Derby County) and Ciaran Brennan (Sheffield Wednesday) are both ill.

Here are the six substitutes available to Tom Mohan today:

George McMahon (Burnley), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City), Niall Morahan (Sligo Rovers), Barry Coffey (Celtic), Conor Grant (Sheffield Wednesday), Matt Everitt (Brighton & Hove Albion).

Ireland were the only team to reach this tournament with a 100% record from their six qualifying games. They scored 18 goals and conceded just three while accounting for Bosnia & Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Netherlands, Romania, Azerbaijan and Russia.

However, Tom Mohan has been robbed of a host of key personnel as clubs are not obliged to release their players due to the tournament not taking place during a designated international window. Ireland used 28 players during the qualifiers, 13 of whom haven’t made the journey to Armenia.

Among the absentees are Adam Idah (Norwich City), Conor Coventry (West Ham United) and Jason Knight (Derby County), who have already been capped at U21 level. Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Luca Connell (Celtic) and Nathan Collins (Stoke City) are missing too. Strikers Michael Obafemi (Southampton) and Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion) — who didn’t feature in qualifying but are eligible for the grade — are also unavailable.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 13.17.12 Lee O'Connor will hope to get his hands on the silverware after the final a week on Saturday. Source: FAI

Norway, today’s opponents, picked up wins against the likes of Germany and Croatia in qualification.

Fans of 1990s Premier League nostalgia may remember their manager, Gunnar Halle, who made 184 appearances in the English top flight while representing Oldham Athletic, Leeds United and Bradford City.

inpho_00007964 Source: INPHO

He also played against Ireland in that drab goalless draw at the 1994 World Cup.

download The Republic of Ireland U19 squad for the 2019 European Championships in Armenia. Source: FAI

This is the first game in Group B at the eight-team tournament. The second will see Czech Republic face France later this evening.

The tournament kicked off yesterday, with Spain recording a 4-1 win over hosts Armenia, and holders Portugal defeating Italy on a 3-0 scoreline.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals, which will be played on Wednesday, 24 July. The final is scheduled for Saturday, 27 July.

Ireland will take on France on Thursday, before concluding their Group B campaign on Sunday against Czech Republic (both 6pm Irish time).

Given the heat in Yerevan, the players will be afforded a water break after 25 minutes of each half.

With Ireland wearing white, the teams are currently observing their national anthems.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Norway

2 – First sight of goal to Norway, Solbakken’s shot from just outside the box deflects over for a corner.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Norway

3 – Oisin McEntee heads the corner clear, Sandberg fires it back on the volley but it’s well off target.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Norway

4 – Normally a defender, Ireland captain Lee O’Connor is playing in a central midfield role today. 

Here’s how Ireland appear to be set up:

Brian Maher

Andy Lyons – Oisin McEntee – Mark McGuinness – Jack James

Lee O’Connor – Joe Hodge

Ali Reghba – Brandon Kavanagh – Kameron Ledwidge

Jonathan Afolabi

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Norway

7 – Norway enjoying the majority of possession at the moment.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Norway

8 – Stenevik chips one over the top for Kitolano but the ball is too heavy.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

8 – Norway hit the front. Stenevik’s deep cross from the right is centred by Tagseth and Botheim finishes from close range. Ireland up against it already.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

12 – Brilliant work down the right by Ireland’s Ali Reghba but his low cross is comfortable for Norway goalkeeper Klaesson to deal with.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

13 – Ireland finally settling into this game. Ledwidge looks for Afolabi with a cross but the Norwegians head it clear.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

15 – Kavanagh looks to chip one down the line to Ledwidge but the ball runs out of play.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

16 – Kavanagh finds Afolabi wide on the right. His cross is spilled by Klaesson but the Norway goalkeeper recovers to gather the ball. 

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

19 – Solbakken looks for Kitolano with a ball over the top, which is ultimately collected by Ireland goalkeeper Brian Maher.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

20 – Free-kick for Ireland in a decent position. Kavanagh has options in the box but has a shot instead, which is well off target.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

22 – Ireland seeing plenty of the ball now after a slow start, but Tom Mohan’s side have yet to go particularly close to an equaliser.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

23 – Another brilliant run by Reghba for Ireland, but Rosler makes a crucial block on his goalbound shot.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

24 – The game is currently paused for a cooling break.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

28 – Nice footwork from Kavanagh near the edge of the Norway box before the ball is booted clear by Rosler. Encouraging stuff from Ireland but they continue to trail.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

29 – Sandberg looks for Kitolano down the line for Norway but again it’s too long and runs out of play.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

31 – Ireland’s Afolabi appears to be bundled over on the edge of the box by Rosler, but the referee wasn’t convinced.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

33 – Hodge picks up a yellow card for Ireland following a late tackle on Larsen.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

34 – Afolabi tries to find Reghba with a through ball but the Ireland striker’s pass had too much venom on it. 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

35 – Kitolano tries to play Botheim through on goal but McEntee makes an important intervention, without which Ireland would have been in trouble.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

36 – Tagseth finds Solbakken in the box but Ireland captain O’Connor dispossesses him with an excellent tackle.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

39 – Ireland keeping the pressure on Norway by pressing them high up the pitch but no breakthrough yet for Tom Mohan’s team.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

41 – Hove drills a long-range free-kick goalwards for Norway but his low strike drifts narrowly wide.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

41 – Good ball in from the right by Lyons but Ledwidge is unable to capitalise.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

42 – Sniff of an Ireland opportunity in behind for Reghba but the pass is overhit by Afolabi.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

43 – Ledwidge takes on Stenevik down the left but the Norwegian guides the ball out for a goal-kick, much to Ireland’s frustration.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

45 – Three additional minutes to be played at the end of the first half.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

45 + 2 – Stenevik beats James on the right but his touch is too heavy and the ball goes out for a goal-kick.

Ireland have responded well to going behind, but their slow start was punished by Norway, who lead at the break thanks to Botheim’s eighth-minute opener.

We’ll be back shortly for the second half.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

50 – As was the case in the first half, Norway have again made the better start but no major opportunities for either side yet since the restart.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

52 – Close for Ireland! Afolabi intercepts Tagseth’s pass, takes on three defenders and his drilled left-footed shot forces a good save from Klaesson.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

53 – Hodge’s corner is well claimed by Klaesson, followed by a small scuffle between the teams which sees Afolabi and Stenevik both booked.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

55 – Reghba does well and plays the ball inside to Afolabi, but his intended pass wide to Ledwidge is cut out. Ireland beginning to build momentum now again.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

56 – Lyons sends a ball into the box and Afolabi goes down under a challenge from Sandberg, but the referee signals play on.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

58 – Stenevik tries to play in Norwegian team-mate Kitolano down the left but the pass is too long.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

60 – Great trickery down the left from Afolabi before his cross is blocked by Sandberg.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

61 – Brighton attacker Matt Everitt has replaced Jack James for Ireland.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

64 – Kavanagh looks for Everitt in around the back but the substitute is unable to get there.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

65 – Noah Jean Holm has replaced Norway goalscorer Botheim.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

66 – Hodge’s free-kick from the right is sent into the box but Norway head it clear. Great delivery, in fairness to Hodge.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

67 – Everitt cuts in from the right and plays a good ball into the box that narrowly evades Afolabi and Kavanagh.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

68 – The players have stopped for another cooling break.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

72 – Afolabi turns well from Ledwidge’s throw-in. However, he’s unable to make anything of the opportunity.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

74 – Ireland dominating possession now in their pursuit of an equaliser, with Norway sitting very deep to protect their lead.

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

75 – Ledwidge and Everitt combine well down the left before Rosler clears the low cross from the latter.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

77 – Norway get forward and relieve the pressure on their rearguard, as Holm wins a free-kick in a dangerous position following a foul by McGuinness. Hove sends the delivery deep but there’s no one there to receive it.

 

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Norway

79 – Substitution for Norway sees Mikael Ugland introduced in place of Solbakken.

 

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

81 – There’s the equaliser and what a goal it was too! Brilliant work again down by the right by Reghba, whose cross was hooked clear by Rosler. However, it fell into the path of 16-year-old Joe Hodge, who struck it sweetly from about 25 yards into the bottom corner.

 

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

83 – Nervy moment for Ireland as Maher rushes out to beat Holm to the ball but the St Patrick’s Athletic goalkeeper does well to deny the Norwegian substitute.

 

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

84 – Ugland finds space outside Ireland’s box before unleashing a strike that goes well wide.

 

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

86 – Outstanding defending by McEntee who makes a crucial intervention to deny Holm what looked like a certain goal. Huge sigh of relief in the Ireland ranks.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

89 – Close for Norway! Ireland living a charmed life now after Ugland’s effort from distance hits the post.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

90 – Andrew Omobamidele replaces Kameron Ledwidge for Ireland, while Norway have brought in Marcus Pedersen for Stenevik.

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

90 + 7 – McEntee blocks Larsen’s cross and Norway have a corner in the 97th minute! 

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway

90 + 7 – The initial danger is cleared, before superb goalkeeping from Brian Maher keeps Holm out.

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