The Republic of Ireland Under-15 team have won the UEFA Development Tournament in Mayo after an emphatic 8-0 victory over Luxembourg in Ballina.
The four-team tournament saw the youngsters score 15 goals in three victories over Latvia, Faroe Islands and Luxembourg, conceding only one goal in the process.
A dominant 8-0 showing against Luxembourg secured the tournament win, with Malaga CF striker Caden McLoughlin bagging himself a hat-trick, while Adam Murphy, Kevin Zefi, Gideon Tetteh, Adam Nugent and Sam Curtis also got on the scoresheet.
Speaking after the game Head Coach Jason Donohue said, "I think the lads really responded to the week. It’s a good learning environment here and by the third game they knew what was expected of them - they really put on a show.”
With former Ireland international Sean St. Ledger assisting with coaching duties, Donohue was enthusiastic about the underage set-up. “Our identity as a football nation is coming from all the international managers sitting down, once a month and going through principles, age specific coaching and understanding styles of play.
“We do this under the guidance of Ruud Dockter [FAI High Performance Director] and it’s working. Add this to Niall Harrison from the Emerging Talent Programme and the National Academy, we now have players coming in 15 to 16 months younger than us so when they get to the Under 15 stage they’re already equipped in terms of the style of the play.”
The U15 team return to action in November with a double-header against Poland in Galway.
Ireland: Walsh (GK) (O’Shea 41); O’Brien (Hughes 49) Kelly, Curtis (C), Cowper Gray (Heffernan 41); Ferizaj (Barrett 49), McManus (O’Brien Whitmarsh 41), Murphy (Fitzgerald 56); Zefi (Tansey 56), Tetteh (Murray 41), McLoughlin (Nugent 49).
Luxembourg: Pereira (GK) (Margato 46); Ikene, Agostinelli, Souchard (Irigoyen 62), Flick; Joao T De Sousa Moreira, Lohei (Ferreira 62), Afonso (C); Fonseca Lima (Khatri 72), Oliveira (Pereira 62), Dardari (Diabi 72)
Referee: James Calway (Ireland)
Results - UEFA Development Tournament
October 17: Republic of Ireland 3 -1 Latvia, Solar 21 Park, Castlebar
October 19: Republic of Ireland 4-0 Faroe Islands, Sports Park, Westport
October 21: Republic of Ireland 8-0 Luxembourg, Ballina Town FC, Ballina