BY CHRIS MCNULTY
KYLE Callan-McFadden captained the Republic of Ireland Under 19s on Thursday, but Paul Doolin’s side were beaten 2-1 in a friendly by Norway at the UCD Bowl.
An FA Youth Cup winner with Norwich City last season, the Ramelton native is making good strides in the game and, having previously captained Irish underage teams, the ex-Swilly Rovers conscript had the armband on Thursday when he was partnered at the heart of the Irish defence by Ryan McConnell, from Oldtown in Letterkenny.
McConnell is on Manchester United’s books and the pair both played the 90 minutes.
Paul Doolin’s side began well and visiting keeper Ole Hermann Opheim made an impressive stop to keep out a powerful strike from midfielder Connor Dimaio in the 13th minute.
Two minutes later Opheim made another impressive stop to parry a similar effort from Conor Wilkinson from the edge of the box.
Norway opened the scoring in the 18th minute when the impressive Bard Finne produced a stunning strike from distance that smashed off the Irish crossbar and Alexander Sorloth reacted first to head home the rebound.
Sam Byrne was gifted the equaliser in the 70th minute when Opheim passed the ball straight to him after dealing with a routine back-pass and the striker shot to the unguarded net.
Ireland had threatened to produce a winner but Norway got it when Vergard Bergan burst through to head home following a corner.
The Irish will meet Slovenia in two U19 friendlies in Waterford on Tuesday, September 3 and Thursday, September 5.