IRELAND'S UNDER 18s were held to a scoreless draw by the Netherlands in an entertaining friendly at Richmond Park.
Both sides had chances to claim victory but a draw proved to be a fair result. James Berrett, the Huddersfield Town midfielder making his Irish debut, could have given the hosts the lead a minute before the break but his shot was scrambled off the goal-line by Dutch defender Ter Horst.
Ajax midfielder Siem De Jong had the best opportunity for the visitors when his 30-yard volley rebounded back of the post just after the restart.
Plymouth Argyle's Karl Byrne dipping 25-yard shot was the pick of the Irish chances. His shot was athletically tipped over by Dutch keeper Ebeltjes.
Saints duo Noel Haverty and Derek Foran gave commanding and assured performances in the Irish back four following their introduction at halftime.
Irish manager Sean McCaffrey expressed his satisfaction with his side's performance, "Considering we lost 7 players from the original panel it was a great performance. Some of these players have played themselves into contention for future internationals."
The fixture was the first of the season for Ireland at this level as they look to build for the 2008 UEFA Under-19 qualifiers which get underway this September.
Finally Noel and Derek would like to thank everyone who wished them well and for the support they received from all the club's players, managers and coaches who attended the game.
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