James starts as Ireland U18s lose out to Romania

Jack James won his second Ireland U18s cap
Jack James won his second Ireland U18s cap

Hatters’ youngster Jack James won his second Republic of Ireland U18s cap as they were beaten 1-0 in a friendly by Romania U18s this afternoon.

After Ireland had won the first match 2-1 on Sunday, Romani took a first half lead when striker Pop Alexandru netted against the run of play in the 28th minute.

Ireland enjoyed the lionshare of possession throughout, but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances as speaking after the game, head coach Jim Crawford said: “We gave away a silly goal, we addressed it at half time and asked the players to keeping playing and doing the right things.

“Romania were dogged and defended well but we didn’t create enough clear cut chances.

“The positives over the two games are that a lot of lads made their debuts and now understand what it takes to play at international level.

“That experience will stand to them for a long time. Today’s result is disappointing but there are lots of learnings there for players and staff going forward.”

Speaking about a week which has seen Flynn Downes and Luke Gambin also represent their countries, Luton boss Nathan Jones added: “We’re proud of our young ones and ever since I’ve come here, in terms of James Justin has, Glen Rea was when we initially had him, Gambo’s gone away, Flynn Downes has gone away.

“We’ve continued his development, that’s the biggest run of league games that Flynn has had in his career, so we promote young players here.

“We think we do, we give them a good platform, we educate them, we work with them and anyone who comes into our environment usually improves.”

Republic of Ireland U18: MacNicholas; James, Lyons, Clarke, Redmond; Bolger, O’Neill, Murphy; Kayode, Caffrey, Dunne.

Subs: McMahon (GK), Collins, Kilkenny, McAuley, Wells, Tee, Doyle.

Romania U18: Stefan; Sorin, Ehmann, Valentin, Costin; Ricardo, Paul, Mihaita, Marian; Andrei, P. Alexandru.

Subs: Andrei, Adrian, Marius, Barna, Radu, Gabriel, D. Alexandru, Vlad, Lavent, Rares.