28.02.2007 at 16:00 Estadio Eng Rui Alves
Referee: P Paraty (Portugal)
Ross Gaynor marked his debut for the Republic of Ireland’s under-21 side with two important goals against Madeira tonight.
The Millwall striker’s excellent finishes helped secure a 2-2 draw for Don Givens’s youngsters against the host nation in the Madeira Invitational Tournament.
Ireland has never been beaten in this competition and Gaynor’s double maintained that record.
The Irish will meet Portugal on Friday (12.00 noon) in a game that will decide the destination of the trophy. The Portuguese beat Slovakia 4-0 in the other game of the day.
Madeira took the lead in the 15th minute through Jose Costa, who produced a prodigious lob over Irish keeper Rene Gilmartin from 30 yards.
Ireland equalised four minutes later after Jim O’Brien made a brilliant left-wing run before pulling the ball back for Gaynor to fire home via a deflection.
Madeira regained the lead in the 44th minute after a left-wing free-kick by Carlos Moniz was headed home by Ricardo Sousa.
Madeira kept things tight after the break but James Simmonds came close to equalising in the 51st minute only to be denied by keeper Jose Silva.
It was not until the 75th minute that either side next threatened with UCD midfielder Ronan Finn shooting narrowly across goal.
Gaynor was the Irish hero in the 83rd minute when he was cleverly set-up by Michael Synnott and smashed past the exposed Silva for a beautiful equaliser.
Ardee native Gaynor was unlucky not to get a hat-trick in injury time effort with a shot just over from the edge of the box.
Madeira – Silva; Freitas, Moniz, Graca, R Sousa, Gouveia, So, Faria, Ramos, Costa, Rodrigues. Subs – M Sousa for Gouveia 46 mins; Pereira for Ramos 46; Vissimo for So 46; D Goncalves for Rodrigues 76; L Sousa for Costa 81.
Republic of Ireland – Gilmartin (Walsall); Kane (Blackburn), Powell (Bohemians), Murphy (MK Dons), O’Halloran (Aston Villa), Kelly (Bohemians), Simmonds (Chelsea), Morris (Scunthorpe), O’Brien (Celtic), Gaynor (Millwall), Hayes (Reading). Subs – Chambers (Shelbourne) for O’Brien 46; Finn (UCD) for Powell 46; Dennehy (Sunderland) for Hayes 52; Synnott (Ipswich) for Kane 67.
The Republic of Irelands under-21 side had to come from behind twice to avoid a surprise defeat by Madeira in Choupana.
Two goals by Millwall striker Ross Gaynor helped the Irish carve out a 2-2 draw to continue their unbeaten run in the Madeira Invitational Tournament.
The Irish have never been beaten in this event in three years of travelling to the Portuguese island but they came very close to losing that record in this game.
A victory over Portugal in Machico on Friday afternoon will be good enough to secure the trophy once more for the Irish.
Ireland won the competition in both 2004 and 2006 and started this years event with a 1-0 win over Slovakia yesterday.
Gaynor was always a danger on his Under-21 debut and he fired narrowly wide with a low strike from 20 yards out in the 10th minute.
Madeira took the lead five minutes later through Jose Costa.
Irish keeper Rene Gilmartin was caught off his line after intercepting a through-ball but Costa still need to show composure with a neat finish into an empty net from 30 yards.
Ireland drew level terms just four minutes later when Celtic winger Jim O Brien supplied Gaynor from the left and the Millwall striker fired home via a deflection off Carlos Moniz.
Ireland had a penalty call rejected in the 29th minute after defender Dinarte Gouveia seemed to handle a Gaynor cross.
Madeira went in front once more in the 44th minute after Moniz found the head of Ricardo Sousa from a left-wing free-kick.
Chelsea s James Simmonds was denied by goalkeeper Jose Silva in the 51st minute but it was not until the 75th minute that Ireland next threatened, Ronan Finn shooting across goal.
Just as it seemed Madeira would hold on for an unlikely victory Gaynor arrived to drive the ball into the top corner after good approach play by Michael Synnott.