Ireland U16 head coach Paul Osam. FAIreland Twitter.
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Ireland's young guns - managed by ex-LOI star - beaten as the North bag late double

Paul Osam’s U16s suffered a 3-1 defeat in Tralee.

TWO LATE NORTHERN Ireland goals meant that the Republic of Ireland’s U16s suffered a 3-1 defeat as they opened their defence of the Victory Shield at Mounthawk Park, Tralee tonight.

Ciaran McGuckin and Sean Stewart struck late to cancel out Oliver O’Neill’s prior equaliser at the Kerry venue, played out in front of over 500 supporters.

The home side, managed by Paul Osam, had the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes but while Ben McCormack, Louie Barry and Oliver O’Neill all came close, the Boys in Green failed to capitalise on their opportunities.

Still scoreless on the restart, the second half threw up four goals.

The North took the lead with 63 minutes on the clock as Ross McCausland found the back of the net from just outside the area.

Ireland responded immediately at the other end, O’Neill brightly finishing to make it 1-1 and game on as the game entered its latter stages.

With 15 minutes to go however, McGuckin put the North back in the lead before Stewart put the icing on the result and Ireland’s opening tie finished in a 3-1 defeat at home.

Ireland continue their campaign in the four-nation tournament against Wales on Wednesday (kick-off 1pm) and Scotland on Friday (kick-off 1pm).

It is the first time that Ireland is hosting the competition as they look for their third consecutive victory of the silverware.

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