McGrath and Manning grab brace apiece

Ireland U19s 6 Azerbaijan U19s 0

McGrath and Manning grab brace apiece

Two goals apiece from Jamie McGrath and Ryan Manning helped Ireland’s U19s ease to a 6-0 victory over Azerbaijan in the first of this week’s double-header at Tallaght Stadium last night.

After Eoghan Stokes twice went close early on, Dessie Hutchinson made the hosts’ dominance count on 18 minutes by drilling his 20-yard shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

McGrath was next to benefit from slack defending seven minutes before the break with the second and the flanker extended the lead two minutes after the restart with a delightful chip.

Three further goals in an eight-minute spell illustrated the gulf in class between the nations.

Substitute Manning, on the field a mere three minutes, nodded home Cieron Keane’s 67th-minute cross.

The QPR striker, who recently joined from Galway United, applied another deft header seven minutes later to make it 5-0.

Within 60 seconds, the Azeris conceded a sixth when Jack Hallahan scored from an acute angle following Joel Coustrain’s left-wing cross.

The countries meet again tomorrow at the same venue (3pm) but the real tests for Paul Doolin’s squad come next month when they face Slovakia, Germany and Czech Republic in the Uefa elite qualifiers looking to take the sole berth on offer into the European finals in July.

IRELAND: H Doherty (L Bossin 73); L Kinsella, N Baba, K Toner, C Keane; D Hutchinson, B Murphy; R Mann (J Hallahan 63), J McGrath (V Feeney 63), J Coustrain; E Stokes (R Manning 63).

AZERBAIJAN: A Gasimov; T Mammodov, Y Nabiyev, B Mustafazade, E Ulukhanov; E Zamanov, M Madatov; I Sadigov, E Suleymanov, V Agaragimov; F Muradbayli.

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).

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