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The Republic of Ireland remain unbeaten in Group Five in their quest to qualify for the U21 European Championship, following a 0-0 draw with Norway at Tallaght Stadium.
It was a point for Noel King's men in the end but it could have been even more, as Reece Grego-Cox missed a great opportunity to win the game with minutes remaining on the clock.
Martin Odegaard was a familiar name to people in the Norway lineup. The Real Madrid man is on loan in Holland at Heerenveen. He did stand out at times and was very composed on the ball and was the biggest threat for the visitors in an attacking sense. But overall Ireland were solid at the back and nullified Norway’s play going forward.
Although Norway are most likely not going to qualify because of their poor start to the group, they look like a side that will have a strong say in who will and should prove to be stern opposition for the remaining games
Ireland gradually grew into proceedings in this particular contest and ended the game the stronger of the two sides, after Norway had the better of the exchanges overall for the first 60 minutes.
One of the main takeaways from the game was the display of Josh Cullen and Declan Rice in the Irish midfield. They formed a very solid midfield partnership, whilst also looking technically superb when called upon.
Rice in particular looks a real prospect and he was of course training with the Senior Ireland setup a few months ago. Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane were in Tallaght to watch the game and will surely have been satisfied with what they saw from Rice.
Derry City man Ronan Curtis was the only League of Ireland player who started and he was lively at times, going close with two efforts from outside the box.
QPR man Ryan Manning also went close when his well struck free kick from the right hand side was saved well.
Another QPR man Reece Grego Cox had the game's best chance, when he shot wide from point blank range from just a few yards out, after a saved shot from Danny Kane fell into his path
It was a brave second half display but it just wasn't to be on the night in terms of securing all three points.
Next up is for Noel King’s side is another crucial qualifier at home to Israel on Monday. The Boys in Green will head into that particular clash unbeaten and on top of Group Five.
Republic of Ireland: Kieran O’Hara; Danny Kane, Shaun Donnellan, Ryan Sweeney, Corey Whelan; Declan Rice, Josh Cullen; Harry Charsley, Ryan Manning (Connor Ronan,88) Ronan Curtis; Reece Grego-Cox.
Subs not used: Liam Bossin, Joseph Quigley, Liam Kinsella, Conor Shaughnessy, Jake Mulraney, Ryan Delaney.
Booked: Curtis (70)
Norway: Sondre Rossbach; Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Kristoffer Ajer, Ulrik Jenssen, Birk Risa; Julian Ryerson, Mathias Normann(Dennis Johnsen, 8inj) Iver Fossum, Morten Thorsby; Martin Ødegaard , Henrik Bjørdal.
Subs not used: Amund Wichne, Erlend Reitan, Fredrick Pallesen Knudsen, Rafik Zekhnini, Sander Svendsen.
Booked: Ajer (75)
Referee: Luis Miguel Branco Godinho (Portugal)
Attendance: 1000 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Josh Cullen (Republic Of Ireland)