The Republic of Ireland Under-18s and Wales could not be separated as an entertaining encounter in Graun Park, Tramore finished scoreless.
Tuesday’s game was the first of the John Coughlan Memorial Cup, with the second game to take place on Thursday afternoon.
Jim Crawford’s side were unlucky not to take the lead in the first five minutes. Ethan Varian’s looping header struck the crossbar, before the rebound was shot wide. In a first half of few chances, Luke Nolan shot inches wide midway through opening period, testing Welsh goalkeeper Alex Pinnock.
Wales started the second half the brighter, and only for some brave defending from Lee McKevitt, the visitors were unlucky to take the lead. Ireland grew into the second half, with Nolan coming close once more to scoring.
With the final kick of the game Wales could have won, but defender Chris Craven shot wide.
Lee Kavanagh of Tramore was an unused substitute but he is expected to start the second leg on Thursday.
Speaking after the match, Republic of Ireland Under-18 head coach Jim Crawford was happy with how his side performed.
“I thought we were excellent in the first half. We started a little slower in the second half with Wales having the better chances.”
“I’m happy for the team to keep a clean sheet, and with the amount of chances the team created tonight.”
The two teams return to action in Waterford on Thursday afternoon, with kick-off in the second and deciding game at 3pm.
Republic of Ireland: Luke McNicholas; Lee McKevitt, Calum Doyle (capt), Denim McLaughlin, Pat Loughrey; Zach Quinlivan, Luke Nolan; Shane Farrell, Jordan Payne (Lorcan Towey 61), Ethan Coll (Cade Cooke 56); Ethan Varian (Cian Power 87).
(Pic credit: Tramore AFC facebook)