Republic of Ireland Under-16s beat Kosovo 4-0 in their final group game of the Aegean Cup in Turkey today.
Two goals from Dara McGuinness – his first goals for Ireland – along with finishes from Thomas Lonergan and Jamie Mullins gave Paul Osam’s side a comprehensive win.
Ireland were without Darragh Reilly and James Abankwah who missed the game due to injury.
They took the lead after 5 minutes when a delivery from Cian Kelly across the face of goal found St Patrick’s Athletic striker Thomas Lonergan to tap in.
The second goal came in the 21stminute when Sean Grehan picked out Kelly wide on the left. His cross once again caused the Kosovan defence problems and this time McGuinness was on hand to finish.
Kosovo had a chance to get back in the game when they were awarded a penalty following a foul by John Ryan. Etnik Bruti stepped up but his spot kick came off the cross-bar.
On the stroke of half time, Ireland netted their third. Lonergan found Mullins at the far post and he took a neat touch to find space to fire past the goalkeeper.
Shortly after the interval Ireland had their fourth and McGuinness his second. Goalkeeper Jack Ross played it out to Lonergan, the Pat's man slipped the ball through to McGuinness who rounded the keeper and fired home – an excellent finish.
McGuinness had a great opportunity to seal his hat-trick when he was put in behind by John Joe Power but the Shamrock Rovers forward saw his shot just go over the bar.
Ireland will be looking to end the tournament on a high as they face a 3rd/4th Place Play-Off game on Tuesday.
Republic of Ireland: Ross; Nevin (Barrett 41), Ryan (Killane 67), Curtis (Aaron O’Reilly 75), Grehan (C); Kelly (Jack O’Reilly 52), Nzingo, Mullins (Power 52); Agbaje (Abada 67), Lonergan, McGuinness.
Kosovo: Shala (C), Riad Jashari, Igball Jashari, Luis Hotti, Morina, Rexhaj, Avdimetaj, Bruti, Nikqi, Bashota, Mulharremi.
Substitutes: Art Hotti (GK), Ajeti, Gjergji, Tupalla, Muji, Krasniqi, Ahmeti, Krasniqi, Bajrami.