Republic of Ireland 1 Italy 0
Cork City midfielder Liam Kearney struck nine minutes from time to see Don Givens’ U21 side earn an impressive 1-0 win over their Italian counterparts this evening at the Madeira tournament in Portugal.
The Italians finished with ten men as Foggia defender Domenico Creanza was sent off deep into the second half, after Glen Whelan’s free kick, headed on by Stephen Paisley, reached Kearney in space and he rose to head past goalkeeper Emanuele Bianchi.
After Alex Pederzoli had troubled the Irish goal with an 18th minute free kick, Australian-born debutant Sean Cooney almost put Ireland in front.
Paul Keegan’s right wing free kick found its way to Cooney whose shot was cleared off the Italian line by Roberto Vitiello.
Under 18 midfielder Patrick Cregg came on to make his debut at half time, and the extra impetus of replacement strikers Adrian Deane and Kevin Doyle in the final quarter saw Cork City favourite Doyle almost awarded a penalty in a tangle with Bianchi.
Just 60 seconds later Creanza was dismissed after cutting down Doyle in full flight.
Givens’ charges will have their chance to win the tournament on Friday against a local Madeira selection, who were defeated by the Portuguese international side earlier today.
Republic of Ireland: Henderson (Aston Villa); Kelly (Tottenham Hotspur), Cooney (Coventry City), Paisley (Longford Town), Kohlmann (Borussia Dortmund); Flood (Manchester City), Keegan (Leeds United), Foley (Liverpool), Kearney (Cork City); Murphy (Waterford United), Bradley (Arsenal).
Subs used: Cregg (Arsenal) for Keegan, Whelan (Manchester City) for Kelly (both ht), Deane (Charlton Athletic) for Bradley, Doyle (Cork City) for Murphy (both 68 mins)
Italy: Bianchi (Sampdoria); Perico (Prato), Creanze (Foggia), Ceccarelli (Spezia), Vitiello (Vicenza); Mancino (Teramo), Berardi (Viterbese), Pederzilo (Rimini), Gazzi (Viterbese); Ruopolo (Cittadella), Masini (Lucchese Libertas).
Subs used: Armenise (Teramo) for Pederzoli, Vianello (Sora) for Masini (both ht)
Referee: L Batista (Portugal)