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Paul Doolin's side were narrowly defeated in the first game of their friendly double header, with Morien Strand scoring the only goal at the Carlisle Grounds

The Republic of Ireland under-19 side continued their preparations for the 2014 European Championship qualifying campaign with a narrow defeat against a dogged Norway side at the Carlisle Grounds, with a goal from Morien Strand proving the difference between the two sides.

Brann forward Bard Finne impressed in the game's early stages, showing exactly why the 18 year old is a regular in the Tippiligaen side, but couldn't beat Eric Grimes in the Ireland goal. At the other end, promising youngster Noe Baba had Ireland's first effort on target, but his long-range effort was easy for goalkeeper Pal Vestly Heigre.

Norway took the lead through a set-piece as Strand beat Grimes after a foul by Dean O'Halloran. Kasper Skaanes had a great chance denied by Grimes as the visitors finished the half brightly. Tricky 16-year-old midfielder Zymer Bytyqi proved a nuisance for the Irish midfield, but couldn't extend the visitors' lead, while the introduction of Jack Byrne helped the Boys in Green get back into the tie.

The Manchester City midfielder was a real bright spark for Ireland, but could not force the equaliser, with Ireland narrowly defeated in the first of two games against Norway this week.

Speaking after the game, Ireland boss Paul Doolin was happy with the performance of his players. "These games are about looking at players in preparation for the UEFA Championships in October and I felt we learned a lot about what these lads are capable of," Doolin said.

"A lot of them are in their first year at this age group and can play again next year so we had a very young squad really. At this age group an extra year can make a difference.

"Having said that I was very pleased with our defending and Dean O'Halloran did very well out wide for us. We used Noe Baba in midfield for the first time to see how that went and you could see that there are things he has to learn about that role but overall I was pleased."

The Boys in Green take on Norway at the UCD Bowl on August 15 at 13.00 BST.

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