Ireland kicked-off their World Championship campaign against 3rd ranked Iran. The match started off promising with Ireland keeping good shape, communication and providing good movement.
An early free kick provided Ireland with a chance to take the lead through clever movement and anticipation. A hard free kick put in by Gary Messett saw the Iranian goalkeeper fumble the ball with two Irish players bearing down on goal. Finbarr O’Riordan had the final shot with an amazing second save being made from the goalkeeper.
Iran could have gone one up themselves only moments later when a clever ball was played through the Ireland defense into the path of the on-running striker, but thanks to superb goal keeping from Brian McGillivary the score line remained nil-nil.
It was 1-0 to Iran on the 19th minute, which through an amount of luck, from a bad first touch the ball snuck into the bottom right hand corner.
Ten minutes later the score line had doubled with a ball being moved across the edge of the Irish box before the Iranian winger cut back inside and hit a left footed shot past McGillivary. The Iranian’s had a few more chances just before half time, but could not convert any.
Two minutes into the second half McGillivary was called into action again when a counter-attack finished in a one-on-one with the keeper coming out on top.
Unfortunately, two minutes later Iran were three goals to the good with an initial shot from the edge of the box being blocked by Joe Markey, however McGillivary was left on the floor anticipating the first shot. The Iranian got hold of the ball and slotted it between two players into the net.
Ireland scored in the 44th minute of the match with an amazing through ball from the young Eric O’Flaherty, which had the keeper in two minds as to whether to come or stay. He decided to do both and ended up in no-mans land leaving Moran with a difficult tight angle to scored from, but with a cool head he slotted it home.
Luke Evans came close to grabbing a second two minutes later with a shot from long range. A long ball forward allowed Jason Moran to lay the ball into Evans path from which he hit a strong in-step pass long towards the bottom left hand corner of the goal, in-turn producing a great save by the goalkeeper.
Ireland were pressing hard now to get a vital second goal. A cross from the left of the area landed to O’Flaherty, with a difficult height on the ball his shot was hit straight at the keeper.
A moment of madness saw Jason Moran see red due to a tackle from behind with the player bearing down on goal.
Ireland’s fight and determination were shown in the last 10 minutes, but unfortunately the comeback was not to be.
Following the game, Team Manager, Paul Cassin remained optimistic “The lads are disappointed that they didn’t really do themselves justice in the first half but in the second half we played a lot better creating chances and scored a great goal. Playing with six men didn’t help but we have two more games to play to try and qualify for the quarter finals.
INFO Source – Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland – David Taylor