Good 3-2 friendly win over Sweden for the Under 21s last night. Never been much of a fan of Givens but they’ve had some decent results lately.
Huge boost for Givens
Stephen Finn in Uppsala
Sweden 2 Rep of Ireland 3: The Republic of Ireland under-21 side produced a thrilling attacking display to record a memorable friendly win over Sweden in Uppsala last night.
It was a performance to boost the confidence of Don Givens’s young side ahead of their Uefa Championship qualifier against England at Turner’s Cross on Tuesday (kick-off 8pm).
Givens handed debuts to Michael Spillane and Aidan Downes but the young Irish side needed little time to get into their stride.
Stephen Quinn gave them the lead in the 19th minute when he nipped in to slot the ball under goalkeeper Per Hansson after a brilliant foray from the right back Eddie Nolan.
Sweden reacted quickly and the Ireland captain, Darren O’Dea, had to clear off the line to deny Johan Oremo on 21 minutes.
Just 60 seconds later a right-wing free-kick by Rasmus Elm found the head of Mattias Bjarsmyr but the Ireland goalkeeper, Darren Randolph, was well placed to save.
Less than a minute later Randolph made a point-blank stop to deny Oremo after the striker broke through following a slip by Spillane.
Oremo then passed up a golden chance for the home side when he screwed wide horribly from close range after connecting with a low, left-wing cross by Marcus Berg on the half-hour.
The charmed life of the Irish goal continued in the 39th minute as they survived a remarkable goalmouth scramble.
Randolph pushed a Berg effort on to a post and then Spillane knocked Christer Youssef’s follow-up strike on to the crossbar before Stephen O’Halloran cleared to safety.
A minute later Randolph again made an excellent stop to push a Berg effort around his left upright.
Oremo’s nightmare in front of goal ended in the 54th minute when he tapped home to level after Ireland’s substitute goalkeeper, Stephen Henderson, had parried a Berg effort.
Ireland regained the lead in the 62nd minute when Alan Sheehan headed home after a Jim O’Brien strike was deflected into his path.
The Irish extended their lead nine minutes later when Downes shot home brilliantly on the turn from the edge of the box.
Sweden grabbed their second goal in the 81st minute when sub Pontus Wernbloom headed to the net from a right-wing delivery by Mikael Lustig.
SWEDEN: Hansson; Siwe, Bjarsmyr, Svensson, Wihlborg, Castro-Tello, Ahman-Persson, Youssef, Elm, Berg, Oremo. Subs: Lustig for Siwe, Bajrami for Youssef (both 63 mins), Toivonen for Berg, Wernbloom for Oremo (both 75 mins).
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: D Randolph (Charlton); E Nolan (Blackburn Rovers), S O’Halloran (Aston Villa), M Spillane (Norwich City), D O’Dea (Celtic), P Cregg (Falkirk), O Garvan (Ipswich Town), S Quinn (Sheffield Utd), A Stokes (Sunderland), J O’Brien (Celtic), A Downes (Everton). Subs: Henderson (Bristol City) for Randolph, Power (Nottm Forest) for Garvan, Sheehan (Leicester City for Quinn (all 46 mins); Coleman (Sligo Rovers) for Nolan (58 mins); Judge (Blackburn Rovers) for O’Brien (68 mins).