Ireland 4 Israel 0: Reece Grego-Cox felt honoured to escalate Ireland’s U21 European Championship qualification crusade yesterday against Israel.
Noel King’s Boys in Green moved four points clear at the top of Group 5 thanks in a major part to the QPR striker’s hat-trick.
Israel are second seeds in the pool behind holders Germany but were torn apart by King’s cubs at Tallaght Stadium.
Having been held scoreless by Norway on Thursday, Ireland enjoyed an early change of luck in front of goal when Grego-Cox pounced after just 40 seconds to fire them ahead. Harry Charsley added a second 10 minutes before the break and Grego-Cox made it 3-0 from the penalty spot two minutes later.
He completed his hat-trick six minutes after the interval from close-range.
Ireland now head to Oslo on 14 November for their duel against Norway carrying 10 points from four games in the bag.
For Grego-Cox, his goal haul was all the more welcome after he missed a late chance to nick three points against Norway.
“It was a relief to get a few goals because I wanted to redeem himself for letting the chance pass against Norway,” said the 20-year-old.
“It’s been a good week for us. We knew these two home games were a chance to pick up results and we’ve got four points from six against two of our nearest rivals.”
K O’Hara (Manchester United); C Whelan (Liverpool), R Sweeney (Bristol Rovers), S Donnellan (Walsall), D Kane (Huddersfield Town); D Rice (West Ham), J Cullen (Bolton Wanderers); H Charsley (Everton), R Manning (QPR), R Curtis (Derry City); R Grego-Cox (QPR).
J Mulraney (Inverness) for Grego-Cox (70 mins), C Shaughnessy (Leeds Utd) for Rice (78 mins), J Quigley (Newport County) for Charsley (81 mins).
O Glazer; YR Meir, A Bitton, A Nassar, SP Ben David; M Ghantus (N Gamoun 12 – R Nahmias 70); E Peretz (D Avraham 61), M Plakushchenko, M Barshazky, M Solomon; SZ Weissman.
F San (SUI)
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