Republic of Ireland U-21 2
Australia U-23 1
Bohemians midfielder Ross Tierney marked his Republic of Ireland U-21 debut by scoring the winner against Australia's U-23s in Marbella this afternoon.
Tierney headed home from fellow substitute Tyriek Wright’s cross, less than two minutes after coming on during the second of Ireland’s three friendlies in Marbella.
Australia are preparing to compete at the Olympics next month and, although Ramy Najjarine cancelled out Jay Rich-Baghuelou’s 57th own-goal with 16 minutes left, Ireland persevered to claim victory.
Ireland manager Crawford made six changes from the starting side beaten 2-0 by Switzerland in Sunday’s opener, handing Andy Lyons his U-21 debut.
The Bohemians right-back and the rest of his defenders were tested from the outset, in particular by roaming winger Panos Armenakas.
Mark McGuinness was required to produce a last-gasp block to deny the playmaker before the post he clipped the far post on 13 minutes with a curler cutting in from the right.
Ireland found it difficult in the midway heat against a bigger and older side to develop a rhythm to their play. Jonathan Afolabi was adjudged to have been offside when he fired over, Luca Connell was off-target with a 20-yard shot while Louie Watson blazed over.
Those were rare moments of respite for the Irish in the first half, as the Socceroos squandered the best opening four minutes before the break.
When Oisin McEntee was dispossessed by John Iredale on the halfway line, the striker threaded a ball for Anthony Kalik whose rising shot was well gathered by Brian Maher.
Afolabi made way for Kayode at half-time and Ireland’s lone forward soon made his presence felt by winning the first corner of the game on 52 minutes.
It wasn’t going to plan for Australia and, while they tried to inject some pace by introducing senior international Daniel Arzani, it was Ireland who struck first.
Excellent play from Lyons released Conor Noss into the box and his low cross from the right was turned in by Rich-Baghuelou just as Kayode was poised to convert.
Ryan Johnansson, on as sub, almost embarrassed goalkeeper Jordan Holmes on 65 minutes by robbing him of possession inside the six-yard box but Australia levelled from the next attack nine minutes later.
Substitute Najjarine was given far too much time and space to drift in from the right and beat Maher with a rising shot into the opposite corner.
Back came Ireland and after Kayode had a penalty claim rejected with two minutes left, they bagged the second following a flowing move down the left.
Ireland complete their camp by facing Denmark on Saturday at 5pm.
Republic of Ireland: B Maher; A Lyons, M McGuinness, O McEntee, W Ferry; C Coventry, L Connell (R Tierney 88); G Kilkenny (T Wright 61), L Watson (R Johansson 62), C Noss (A Gilbert 75); J Afolabi (JJ Kayode 46).
Australia: J Holmes; G Cleur, J Rich-Baghuelou, M Tokich; C Watts (N Pennington 87), R Teague, C O’Toole, K Popovic; P Armenakas (R Najjarine 54), J Iredale (MJ Francois 80), A Kalik (D Arzani 54).
Referee: Pareja Nieto (Spain)