Ireland U21s start campaign in style with victory over Luxembourg

Republic of Ireland 3-0 Luxembourg

Ireland U21s start campaign in style with victory over Luxembourg

[team1]Republic of Ireland[/team1][score1]3[/score1][team2]Luxembourg[/team2][score2]0[/score2][/score]

Stephen Kenny lauded his new young guns after Ireland's U21's strolled past basement seeds Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium in their opening Euro 2021 qualifier yesterday.

It was also a debut at this level for Cork native Adam Idah and Norwich City striker bagged a brace. Neil Farrugia was another player to score on his bow with a neat finish in between Idah’s double.

The biggest crowd since 1995 for an U21 match, 4,772, turned up to watch Kenny begin the international managerial career after the FAI headhunted him from Dundalk in December.

His role is due an upgrade next year with his preordained promotion to senior level.

“It was an excellent all-round performance although, with Italy, Sweden, Iceland and Armenia also in the group, we will have sterner tests ahead.

“After starting well, we got a little frustrated for a period. We didn’t lose our way but for 10 minutes we stopped the period of domination.

“It was great that Adam scored during that time. That relaxed us and we dominated again.

“I really enjoyed the week and I’d love to have another match next week.

“That’s the way of international football because we’re not due to play again until the Toulon Tournament in June. Then the qualifiers restart in September.”

Three points were a must for Ireland to have any chance of reaching a first-ever major U21 tournament.

They should have been ahead after only seven minutes when Idah scampered clear only to ripple his shot into the side-netting.

Aside from Kenan Avdusinovic’s tame shot which was easily saved, Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher in the Ireland goal was hardly troubled. Instead, Ireland got a foothold and forged ahead on 34 minutes.

Farrugia’s corner-kick was telegraphed perfectly for Idah to attack the near post and steer his header into the top corner.

It was only four minutes later before the visitors were run ragged again.

Man of the match Connor Ronan performed the approach-play by advancing at pace and his slide-rule pass was finished by Farrugia’s deft dink beyond the stranded goalkeeper.

Ireland dominance continued after the break and a similar break by Ronan led to the third on 68 minutes.

Idah was the recipient this time, haring clear from the break and burying his low shot beneath Tom Ottele for the third.

Jayson Molumby, who alongside Conor Coventry bossed the midfield, has earlier almost embarrassed the Luxembourg goalkeeper. His audacious lob from 35 yards which clattered off the crossbar.

Ireland could have added more goals to their tally, with Ronan, Molumby and Zach Elbouzedi spurning chances but the result was already wrapped up.

“We had worked a lot on the training ground during the week about getting balls into the box,” said Cork native Idah afterwards.

“I was a bit annoyed to miss the early chance but I knew more would come. To score twice on my Under-21 debut is great but the team performance was the main thing.”

Kenny said of Idah: “Adam has only turned 18 and we don’t know yet how far he can go in the game.”

Early days yet but Kenny’s side can go far too.

Republic of Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher, Lee O'Connor, Darragh Leahy, Dara O'Shea, Conor Coventry, Zach Elbouzedi (Michael O'Connor 89), Jayson Molumby (C) (Jamie Lennon 77), Adam Idah (Brandan Kavanagh 89), Connor Ronan (Dan Mandroiu 85), Neil Farrugia (Aaron Drinan 89), Conor Masterson.

Luxembourg: Tom Ottele, Eric Brandenburger, Ten Held, Pit Simon, Kevin D'Anzico, Luca Duriatti (C) (Dylan Kuete 87), Clayton Duarte, Jan Ostrowski, Mathias Olesen (Loris Tinelli 68), Lucas Prudhomme, Kenan Avdusinovic (Yannick Schaus 61).

Referee: Timotheos Christofi (CYP)

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