The Republic of Ireland under-18s earned a 1-1 draw against Slovakia in the opening match of the Falkenberg tournament in Sweden this afternoon.

Despite going 1-0 down, Ireland were the better side throughout and deservedly earned the draw when Maymount's Jamie Meehan finished off a well-worked set-piece move involving Billy Clarke and Billy Dennehy.

Manager Noel O'Reilly used the game to blood plenty of new players with Michael Keohane and Seamus McCabe both coming on for their debuts as Ireland made six changes. "It was a great performance and we should have won the game. We created so many chances and were well on top," said O'Reilly.

"It was hard going because a lot of the players haven't played a game yet this season while it was it also quite a new team. But, I'm a little disappointed we didn't get the win because we played so well. There were a lot of positives in the match," he added. 

O'Reilly's troops next face Norway on Thursday (kick-off 3.30) and finish the tournament against hosts Sweden on Saturday (kick-off 2.00).

Ireland under-18 team v Slovakia: Randolph (Charlton Athletic); Chambers (Shelbourne), Reilly (Burnley), Castle (Reading), Synott (Ipswich Town); Lordan(Ipswich Town), Wilson (Portsmouth), Morris (Leeds United), Dennehy (Shelbourne); Hayes (Reading), Clarke (Ipswich Town). Subs: Stapleton (Reading), Cullen (Sligo Rovers), Meehan (Maymount), Kearney (Everton), Keohane (IMG Soccer Academy), McCabe (Dundalk).