The Republic of Ireland Under-21s turned on the style in Stephen Kenny’s first match in charge after they ran out 3-0 winners against Luxembourg.
Cork-born Adam Idah notched an impressive brace and UCD forward Neil Farrugia also scored as Ireland won their first game of their UEFA U-21 2021 European Championships qualifying campaign.
Ireland were always in complete control of the contest and will have been disappointed not to have scored more in front of a fantastic crowd of 4,772 at Tallaght Stadium.
Both Idah and Farrugia had chances within the first 10 minutes of the contest to open the scoring, before the Norwich City striker Idah finally did just that past the half-hour. The 18-year old rose highest to powerfully head home Farrugia’s corner to put Ireland ahead.
Kenny’s side continued the pressure and doubled their lead just five minutes later. Man of the Match Connor Ronan found the perfect pass to slip in the UCD man and he clipped the ball over the keeper to the delight of the home crowd.
The pressure continued after the break and Ireland extended their lead in the 67th minute. Once again, Ronan broke away past the half-way line to slot in the on-rushing Idah and he powered the ball past the keeper from just inside the area.
That completed the scoring for the home side as they start their campaign with three points and manager Kenny was delighted with the display.
“I thought we were excellent at times, some fantastic spells of play and I thought the quality of goals were fantastic,” said manager Stephen Kenny.
“We’ve got things we need to improve on of course, but to see such confidence on the ball from a young group is really encouraging at the start of the campaign. We wanted to get that three points on the board early and now we go to the Toulon Tournament in June, and look forward to it.
“There were many excellent performances across the pitch, we took our goals really well and I really thought we could have scored a few more, but we can learn from that and it’s a great start.”
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)