Coola Post Primary School student and Sligo Rovers U17 team member John Mahon played the full game for the Republic of Ireland schoolboys side in a friendly game against Australia at Whitehall in Dublin on Saturday.
Mahon (above) lined out at centre-back for the game, as the Irish continue preparations for the forthcoming Centenary Shield tournament.
The Irish host Wales in their opener in that competition in February, and will also play another friendly match against St Patrick’s Athletic prior to that.
Donegal’s Shane Blaney, from St. Eunan’s College in Letterkenny, also played the full game alongside Mahon in the centre of defence, while Jamie Bell and Seán McBride, both from St. Columba’s College in Stranorlar, also came off the bench in the second half.
Blaney and Bell both play play for Finn Harps.
U18 BOYS’ INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY
Republic of Ireland 0-2 Australia
Hassan Jalloh came off the bench at the break to claim two second half goals and earn a 2-0 victory for the visiting Australia Schools in the friendly International fixture with the Republic of Ireland Schools at Home Farm FC, Whitehall on Saturday, January 21, reports John Hudson.
Jalloh struck the opening goal just on the hour mark with a neat finish from close in, past the helpless Irish ‘keeper Paul Martin (Presentation De La Salle) after Trevor Ssemakula was allowed to easily get past the home defence.
The second Australia goal arrived ten minutes later and again in a situation similar to the first score, the home defence were slow to react and Jalloh scrambled home from close range after Jake Trew had played him in on goal.
Defeat for the Irish in their first serious outing of the season may be a disappointing start with the Centenary Shield series coming up, but in truth, had their finishing been a bit more clinical they might have earned something from this game.
Winger Neil Farrugia (St. Andrew’s College) had the bulk of their chances and they might have led at the break with Farrugia and Seán McDonald (Clonkeen College) both missing the target on a couple of occasions.
Australia with a lesser percentage of the play in that half rarely threatened apart from Mitch Dobson’s header and a low drive by Ssemakula that was deflected out.
Farrugia and McDonald both went close on the resumption before the Irish were rocked by Jalloh’s two goals in a ten minute spell that quickly turned the game in favour of Australia.
Although the home side showed plenty of effort and manager Paddy O’Reilly rang the changes, the lack of a clinical finisher let them down.
Farrugia came close in a late push, first with a powerful header that was turned out for a corner and later goalkeeper Domenic Nascimbin got down smartly to gather a dipping shot.
On another day Farrugia might have grabbed a couple of goals but it just wasn’t to be and the Irish move on to play Wales in Dublin next month, their opening Centenary Shield fixture scheduled for the same venue on February 16 (KO 7pm).
Before that opener, O’Reilly will have one last look at his provisional select as they take on St. Patrick’s Athletic in a trial game on February 9 in Abbotstown. There are a number of players that didn’t feature yesterday that may still be on the managers radar including Conor Layng (Athlone Community College), Evan Murphy (St. Enda’s College, Salthill), Brian Maher (St. Paul’s College, Raheny), Owen Wall (St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny), Connor Gormley (Loreto CS, Milford) and Ryan Lambe (Rockwell College, Cashel). It won’t be an easy task to whittle down the squad for the coming season.
The Australian contingency march on. They travel north for the match against Northern Ireland Schools set to take place in Seaview on Monday with a 3pm kick off pencilled in.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SCHOOLS: Paul Martin (Presentation De La Salle Bagenalstown), Tunmise Sobowale (Mt Sion CBS Waterford), John Mahon (Coola Post Primary School, Sligo), Shane Blaney (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), Darryl Walsh (St. Declan’s Community College), Alec Byrne (Carrigaline Community School), Colm Walsh O’Loghlen (Rice College, Ennis), Ronan Manning (Calasanctius College, Oranmore), Michael Murphy (St. Paul’s College, Raheny), Neil Farrugia (St. Andrew’s College Blackrock); Seán McDonald (Clonkeen College, Blackrock).
SUBS: Neill Byrne (Dunshaughlin Community College) for Walsh O’Loghlen (h-t), Vinny Quinlan (Gorey Community School) – for Murphy (h-t), John Martin (Presentation De La Salle, Bagenalstown) – for Manning (h-t), James Carroll (St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda) – for Sobowale (62 mins), Jamie Bell (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar) – for P Martin (62 mins), Stephen Nolan (St. Aidan’s CBS, Whitehall) – for Byrne (70 mins), Seán McBride (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar) – for McDonald (70 mins).
AUSTRALIA SCHOOLS: Domenic Nascimbin; Daniel Blachura; Mitch Dobson, Alex Gollan, Ben Morrison; Nathan Philips, Chris Heckenberg; Trevor Ssemakula, Zac Duncan, Oliver Puflett; Jake Trew.
SUBS: Hassan Jalloh (for Heckenberg h-t), Alex Malfara (for Blachura h-t), Angus Long (for Ssemakula 78 mins), Blake Currey (for Puflett 82 mins), Kieren Strachan (for Duncan 89 mins), Tilmann Stewart, Cooper Banks-Fay.
REFEREE: Mark McEvoy (Dublin)
Centenary Shield 2017 Fixtures
Thursday, February 16 Republic of Ireland vs Wales, Home Farm FC, Whitehall, Dublin
Thursday, March 2 Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland, Belfast
Thursday, April 6 Scotland vs Republic of Ireland, Stirling Albion
Thursday, April 13 Republic of Ireland vs England, Home Farm FC, Whitehall, Dublin