O'Brien shines as King's men dismiss Dutch
Aiden O'Brien celebrates his first goal at Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Inpho
Republic of Ireland 3 Netherlands 0:Aiden O’Brien was the star man for Noel King’s Republic of Ireland under-21 side at Tallaght Stadium this afternoon. The Millwall striker scored twice in a 3-0 win, while Wolves midfielder Anthony Forde was also on target.
The win was a timely one for King, who was "delighted with the result" and the "steely" performance.
Ireland, captained by Everton defender Shane Duffy, looked solid throughout with O’Brien, linking well with his strike partner Samir Carruthers, unlucky not to have scored with an early strike that he dragged wide.
He was not waiting long for his second chance, which he made count when converting from six yards after a well delivered cross from Matt Doherty.
The Netherlands twice hit the woodwork - Alex Schalk and Hakim Ziyech were unlucky not to score - and O’ Brien made them pay. After a dangerous free-kick delivered by Forde, O’Brien reacted quickest to Duffy’s flick on and put his side two up at the break.
The second half brought a host of changes for both sides, 13 in total. King was also forced into a change shortly after the restart when the injured O’Brien was replaced by Carl McHugh.
Ireland’s momentum continued, however, with one new introduction, Joe Shaughnessy, finding another in Frankie Sutherland. He put Forde through on goal, only for the midfielder to be taken down by Mike Te Wierik. Forde converted calmly to put his side three up and send the game out of the reach of the Dutch.
Rep of Ireland:McCarey (McDermott h-t); Doherty (Shaughnessy h-t), Duffy, Williams (O’Connor h-t), McGinty (McHugh h-t); Ferdinand (O’Sullivan 36), Reilly Bolger (64 mins); Murray, Carruthers (Sutherland h-t), Forde; O’Brien (Forrester, 57 mins).
Netherlands U21: Van Der Lei (Verhulst h-t); Te Wierik, Letschert (Veltman h-t), Van De Pavert (Denswil h-t), Bakker (Van Ooijen h-t); Jansen, Drost (Foor h-t), Ziyech; Slagveer (Lukoki h-t), Schalk (Valpoort h-t), Elbers.
Referee: M Smyth (Northern Ireland).