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Ireland earn point in Romania

Ireland Under-21s secured a hard-fought 0-0 draw in their European Championship qualifier in Romania.

The Green Army came into the match off the back of a 4-0 home defeat to Germany and without manager Noel King, put in interim charge of the senior side after Giovanni Trapattoni's departure.

Ireland responded well under caretaker manager Harry McCue, earning earn a draw from their Group 6 clash at the Stadionul Ceahlau.

Romania had 16 shots to the visitors' seven in Piatra Neamt, where Alin Carstocea had the first chance of the night after 11 minutes.

He then tested Aaron McCarey four minutes later, before Ireland ventured forward and Derrick Williams saw a shot blocked before goalkeeper Laurentiu Branescu denied Sean Murray.

The visitors were soon on the backfoot again, though. Mihai Roman and captain Stefan Popescu both attempted to find the breakthrough before half-time, with Murray missing the target as Ireland looked to grab the lead.

The visitors returned for the second half rejuvenated, with Murray seeing a shot blocked four minutes after the restart.

Anthony Forde forced Branescu into a save moments later, but Romania soon came back into the match.

McCarey denied a Roman free-kick and then a Alexandru Cretu effort, before Andrei Ciolacu and Romario Benzar missed the target.

Claudiu Bumba and substitute Alexandru Dan saw shots blocked in the final 10 minutes, while another change, Martin Madalin, missed the target as Romania upped the ante.

McCarey denied Cretu's efforts on goal in the 86th minute and was called into action again to prevent Ciolacu securing victory in stoppage time.


From Belfast Telegraph