Republic of Ireland 1-1 Austria
The Republic of Ireland Women's Under-19s were held in the opening fixture of the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship Elite Round as they drew 1-1 with Austria at Turner’s Cross.
Saoirse Noonan’s towering header at the beginning of the second half cancelled out a stunning finish from Austria’s Johanna Schneider and was enough to see Ireland begin life in Group 4 with a point.
Austria began the game the better side and they twice went close to grabbing the lead early on but both Johanna Schneider and Laura Krumbock failed to trouble goalkeeper Naoisha McAloon.
Ireland threatened to grab an opener in the 20th minute but after forcing a succession of corners, Shelbourne Ladies midfielder Tiegan Ruddy drove her effort well over the target.
And almost immediately following Ireland’s best spell in the match, Austria charged up the other end and broke the deadlock with Schneider finding the far bottom left corner with a superb lob from the edge of the box.
Austria finished the half strongly but they were punished for not taking their opportunities at the beginning of the second 45 as Noonan levelled terms, powering her header home at the back post from a corner shortly after the restart.
Both sides pressed for a winner and Lauryn O’Callaghan went closest for Ireland late on but after being played in by Noonan, the defender’s thunderous shot was saved by goalkeeper Milena Zink.Next up for the U-19’s is a tough fixture against Spain at Turner’s Cross on Thursday evening.
Ireland Head Coach Dave Connell said: "First half we showed a little bit of nervousness and probably Austria shaded it without really dominating it. They caught us on the break for our own set-play so that was disappointing.
"We re-grouped at half-time, had a good chat and changed the formation slightly and I thought we dominated the second half which shows great testament to the character of the girls. Overall, we're a little bit disappointed we didn't win but we'll settle for the draw and it keeps us in the group.
"I think the character the team showed and the belief that's in the squad is something they can take into the next game."
Republic of Ireland: Naoisha McAloon; Lynn Craven, Niamh Farrelly, Sadhbh Doyle, Chloe Singleton; Alex Kavanagh, Tiegan Ruddy, Saoirse Noonan; Megan Mackey (Orla Casey 89), Alannah McEvoy (Naima Chemaou 57), Sinead Donovan (Lauryn O’Callaghan 57)
Austria: Milena Zink; Laura Wienroither, Magdalena Bachler, Laura Krumbock (Maileen Mossner 59), Yvonne Weilharter; Besijana Pireci, Melanie Brunnthaler, Lena Kovar, Katharina Fellhofer; Julia Mak, Johanna Schneider (Jana Scharnbock 66).