With the Homeless World Cup in full swing at the moment in Chile, the Republic of Ireland squad are hoping to make a strong impression at the games.
Before flying out to Chile, Irish Manager Sean Kavanagh had high hopes for Ireland at the games and initially, the Boys in Green didn’t disappoint.
Sean Kavanagh’s men made headlines in Ireland on Monday following an impressive 11-1 victory over Greece in their opening day’s match of the tournament. It seemed that Kavanagh’s hopes were not unfounded, but tournament football can be a cruel mistress, as the Irish Squad found out yesterday when they lost to México on Monday, who are strongly tipped to win the tournament outright.
Pundit Arena have been keeping an eye on all the games at Chile to provide detailed match reports.
Republic of Ireland 11 Greece 1 – Sunday 19th October
Following an impressive opening ceremony, the Irish team squared off against Greece under a blazing South American sun with both teams hoping to snatch an early victory. Temperatures reached 30 degrees before kickoff and initially the Irish struggled to cope. Within minutes of kick off, the Greeks were one nil up.
Despite the shock of conceding a goal so early, Mick Pender’s men rallied and soon began to overpower a plucky Greek side. Thomas McDonagh was particularly impressive during the game, bagging 5 of Ireland’s 11 goals. But this was more than a one man show. Clayton Kelly, Dylan Sheridan, Daragh McNamara and captain Thomas O’Dwyer all contributed handsomely while Lee Geoghegan scored a hatrick for the Republic. Rest is everything in tournament football, and Mick Pender made sure each player was given ample game time. Between the sticks for Ireland, James Traynor and later Craig Haslem ensured that the Greeks didn’t add to their early goal.
All in all a strong showing from possibly the strongest Irish team in a number of years.
México 7 Republic of Ireland 2 – Monday 20th October
Ireland went into this game knowing they were underdogs. 10 seconds into the match and the Irish had conceded a penalty when Ireland’s goalkeeper handled the ball from a backpass. México, duly punished the Irish by converting the subsequent spotkick. In temperatures reaching 35 degrees the Irish rallied but as time wore on, Irish energy levels dropped.
Mick Pender was thankful the Republic were only 3-0 down at half time. In the second half, Ireland finally drew blood from the favourites but in the end México held the Irish off in a convincing victory. The Irish failed to reach the heights of Sunday’s performance and left the field knowing they are capable of so much more.
Tuesday 21st October
Hoping that yesterday’s heavy defeat to México was a flash in the pan, the Republic face off against Wales and Sweden today knowing they need at least 4 points if they are to progress into the next round of the Tournament.
With temperatures forecast to be between 35 and 40 degrees, it promises to be another energy sapping day. Irish Fitness Coach Graham Tucker will be hoping that the months of preparation spent training the squad for such blistering heat will finally pay off.
The Wales match kicks off at 7pm Irish Time, and the Swedish Match at 9.50pm Irish Time.
We’ll be cheering on the Boys in Green. Will you?
The games can be watched directly from the Irish Street Leagues Website.
Conor Heffernan, Pundit Arena