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Local lads put stamp on Russia.

Byline: JOHN FALLON

Ireland U-21 2 Russia U-21 2 LEAGUE OF IRELAND players had a major say in Ireland recording an impressive draw against Russia last night at the under-21 Marbella international tournament.

Dylan Connolly, earning only his second cap at this level, was particularly influential by setting up the opener and scoring the second.

The Ipswich Town-bound winger was assisted for his goal too by former Shelbourne team-mate Lee Desmond, who left Tolka Park last week to join FAI Cup champions St Patrick's Athletic.

Two goals to the good early in the second-half and looking comfortable, Noel King's side eventually succumbed to the sheer power of a Russian outfit.

Glen Rea and Connolly supplied Ireland's goals at the start of each half before Russia hit back through Morgunov Alexander and Sheidaev Ramil.

Brian Lenihan, the Hull City full-back recently loaned to Championship club Blackpool, was one of several changes King introduced into the side from the line-up beaten 1-0 tournament opener by the USA.

It was from his right side that Ireland sped into a fifthminute lead.

Connolly's cross failed to get a proper connection from Rea in the air but the midfielder was first to react onto the loose ball and bury it home from six yards.

Brighton midfielder Rea was in such control of the midfield that he drew a cruel foul from Dmitri Efremov on 23 minutes, resulting in a straight red card for the Russian.

When Desmond sent his long ball out of defence three minutes after the restart, racing through was Connolly, who knocked the ball past the advancing goalkeeper and found the net from an acute angle.

That was the trigger for Russia to finally react, with nippy substitute Alexander burying a 25-yard shot past Ireland goalkeeper Eric Grimes after 61 minutes.

Ireland's substitute stopper was again left helpless on 73 minutes as burly striker Sheidaev Ramil got on the end of a rightwing cross and steer the ball home with his toe.

CAPTION(S):

CLASS Dylan Connolly got one goal and one assist

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Nov 18, 2014
Words:341
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