International round-up: Conor Coventry captains Republic of Ireland U21s to friendly win
Conor Coventry recorded his first victory as Republic of Ireland U21s captain on Wednesday afternoon as the Boys in Green saw off Australia’s U23s Olympics team in a friendly in Marbella.
Having worn his international side’s armband for the first time in the 2-0 defeat to Switzerland on Sunday afternoon, the midfielder – also the Hammers’ U23s’ captain – enjoyed a more encouraging final result against the junior Socceroos, winning 2-1.
After initially taking the lead shortly after half-time, Jim Crawford’s team were pegged back late on by Australia, but rallied to snatch a winner in the dying embers at a sun-soaked Marbella Football Centre.
Coventry was making his 15th appearance for Republic of Ireland U21s, having become a regular fixture in the side during their previous two spirited – if ultimately unsuccessful – European U21 Championship qualification campaigns.
The Boys in Green’s starting line-up also included Academy of Football scholar Louie Watson, who joined Derby County earlier this season.
On a scorching day on the Costa del Sol, Australia enjoyed the better of the chances in the first half, striking the post in the opening stages.
Ireland took the lead after 57 minutes played when Conor Noss’ cross was turned into his own net by Australian defender Jay Rich-Baghuelou, but the Socceroos hit back after 74 minutes when Ramy Jajjarine curled in a sumptuous finish from just inside the area.
The match looked set to end in a draw, but Bohemians starlet Ross Tierney – on his Ireland U21s debut – powerfully headed home from close range with less than ten seconds left on the clock to secure victory.
Coventry and his teammates will now look forward to concluding their ten-day training camp with a fixture against Denmark at 9pm on Saturday.
Crawford’s team are based in Spain to ramp up preparations for their next set of Euro U21 qualifiers, which begin in early September.