Ireland Under 21s see off San...


Ireland Under 21s see off San Marino at the Cross

RedFM News
RedFM News

07:01 13 Sep 2023

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The Republic of Ireland Under 21s made it two wins from two in their European Championship qualifying campaign last night.

The Boys in Green defeated San Marino by three goals to nil at Turner's Cross, thanks to a brace from Celtic's Rocco Vata on his 21s debut, and QPR's Sinclair Armstrong.

The crowd of 3,826 featured senior manager Stephen Kenny, who put speculation about his future to one side to watch the next generation of Irish talent.

Fresh from his appearance with the senior side on Sunday, Armstrong was a constant thorn in the side of the San Marino defence, and helped set up the opener after just seven minutes. The Dubliner ran on to a through ball from Cork's Matt Healy, and squared powerfully from the byline with Vata on hand to steer the ball home from close range.

Ireland dominated proceedings in the first half, but had to wait for time added on to add their second goal when it was Vata again who found the back of the net. After Healy's curling effort from 25 yards was tipped behind by Pietro Amici in the San Marino goal, the former Cork City midfielder took a quick corner to Vata, who ran into the box and fired past Amici from a tight angle.

Armstrong got the goal he craved in the 66th minute, although maybe not quite in the manner he would have liked. San Marino defender Giacomo Matteoni sliced a clearance over the head of Amici, and with the ball dropping over the line Armstrong arrived to get a touch with his chest from a foot out to make sure it went in.

Boss Jim Crawford emptied the bench in the second half, with Healy given a warm reception from the Turner's Cross faithful when he was replaced after 78 minutes, the Royal Francs Borains star receiving an even louder round of applause ten minutes later when he was named man of the match.

It was a successful week on Leeside for Jim Crawford and his team following Friday's dramatic win over Turkey. Next up is a trip to Latvia on October 13th in the only competitive game of that international window. Latvia lost 7-0 to group leaders Norway last night.

The Republic of Ireland are back in Turner's Cross on November 21st against Italy in what is sure to be a huge game in the battle to win a place at the Euro 2025.

Ireland: Keeley (GK), Abankwah, Furlong, Lawal, Healy (McJannet, 79'), Vata (Gilsenan, 68'), Armstrong (Carty, 79'), Moran (C), Springett (Emakhu, 68'), Curtis, Adeeko (Phillips, 68').

San Marino: Amici (GK), Giocondi (Guidi, 70'), M. Sancisi, Toccaceli, Matteoni, Contadini (C), Zannoni (Dolcini, 83'), Santi (Pasolini, 83'), Sensoli (N. Sancisi, 58'), Famiglietti, Giambalvo (D'Addario, 70')

Referee: Antoine Paul Chiaramonti (Andorra)

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