25.04.2000 at 17:00 Station Road, Newbridge
Referee: K Parry Wales
Friendly / PROG X2-match
Brian Mc Govern
Ireland 1 Greece 2
New Republic of Ireland u21 boss Don Givens was left scratching his head last night after his team lost 2-1 to Greece in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
When Givens took over the job from Ian Evans he promised that he would change things with the u21 team. Their record at international level is probably the worst of all of the Irish teams but Given said things were about to improve.
In his first two games in charge, Givens has led Ireland to two defeats, both at home. He was not helped last night when he lost his captain Barry Quinn to the senior squad but still Ireland were expected to win. Greece did not create much in the game but they did take their chances when they came.
The visitors took the lead in spectacular circumstances in the 57th minute. Venetis threaded the ball through to Charisteas and the forward showed sublime skill to control the ball before firing past Dean Delaney.
Ireland found themselves 2-0 down in the 76th minute when Delaney spilled Vakouftsis shot and Louboutis followed in to score.
Givens started the game with only one Eircom League player on the field but by the end he had five. He introduced UCDs Ciaran Martyn, Sligos Conor O Grady, Waterfords Tim McGrath and Shelbournes Richie Baker.
It was Baker who gave Ireland the chance of a result in the last minute. Conor O Grady hit a powerful drive towards goal which the Greek keeper could only parry. Baker was well positioned to head the ball back towards goal and into the net.
Givens said after the game: "Our back four had never played together before and that did not give us a solid base. They were much more experienced than us but that cannot be the full excuse. We still have to perform."
Ireland: Dean Delaney, Heary, Murphy (McGrath 45), McGovern, Clive Delaney, Crossley, Healy, Billington (Martyn 75), Barrett (Reddy 64), Partridge (O Grady 75), Freeman (Baker 45)