Murphy marks debut with winner


UNDER-21/Republic of Ireland 2 Hungary 1:THE REPUBLIC of Ireland began their 2013 European Championship qualifiers in style last night at the Showgrounds by claiming three points thanks to a winner by debutant Rhys Murphy.

Although senior international James McCarthy was in the line-up as captain, it was Robbie Brady who stood out. The Manchester United winger, on loan at Hull City, took just four minutes to embark upon one of his trademark dribbles only to see his shot blocked. He was enjoying a dual with Hungary’s Liverpool goalkeeper Peter Gulasci, also on loan at Hull, and left him grasping at thin air for his opener on 15 minutes. Mark Connolly combined with Adam Barton on the right to find Brady and the winger slipped past two defenders before driving a thunderbolt inside the near post.

Noel King’s side wasted a number of openings, with Gavin Gunning’s wayward close-range header the pick of them. The visitors equalised on 38 minutes when Ádám Bódi’s low cross was swept home by Markó Futács.

Barton was close to regaining the Irish lead within a minute only for Gulasci’s fingertips and as well as the crossbar to deny him.

The home side lived dangerously early in the second half, as Benjámin Balázs skewed his shot wide. Still, McCarthy’s influence grew and after he had a penalty claim rebuffed, he played a key role in the winner on 69 minutes. He was at the edge of the box when Hungary only half-cleared a corner and, spotting Brady in space, his lay-off enabled the flanker to deliver a cross for Murphy to head the net.

With McCarthy, Barton and Brady dominating Hungary’s frustration boiled over eight minutes from time when Bence Iszlai was issued with a red card for a challenge on Aidan White.

It might have been an even happier night for McCarthy had Lajos Bertus not blocked his shot on the line two minutes later but he’ll link up with the senior squad this morning happy with his display.

REP OF IRELAND: McLoughlin (MK Dons); Connolly (Bolton Wanderers), Canavan (Scunthorpe), Kiernan (Wigan Athletic), Gunning (Dundee United); Towell (Hibernian), Barton (Preston NE), McCarthy (Wigan Athletic); Brady (Manchester United), Murphy (Arsenal), White (Leeds United). Subs Not Used: McCarey (Wolves), Clifford (Chelsea), Hourihane (Plymouth), Oyebanjo (York City), Duffy (Everton), Collins (Shrewsbury), Hendrick (Derby County).

HUNGARY: Gulácsi; Kálnoki-Kis, Fodor, Szokol; Balázs, Kiss, Iszlai, Bódi; Futács, Gosztonyi. Subs: Nagy for Futács (79 mins), Gyurcsó for Balázs (81 mins), Hidi for Bodi (90 mins).

Referee: Sébastien Delferiere (BEL).