Ireland U21 2 Iceland U21 1
Republic of Ireland Under-21s came from a goal down and playing with a man down to beat Iceland 2-1 in front of more than 6,000 fans in a friendly at Turner’s Cross, Cork on Sunday afternoon.
A first-half goal by Tom Cannon cancelled out a strike by Kistall Máni Inagson before Ireland saw Festy Ebosele dismissed before the break. Substitute Johnny Kenny came off the bench to score the winner as Jim Crawford’s team enjoyed a promising a win.
Only seven of the 22 players named in the squad had been capped at Under-21 level previously. Iceland, like Ireland, fell at the final hurdle of the previous Euro qualification stages in the play-offs,
One player who generated a lot of excitement pregame was the Everton striker, currently on-loan at Preston North End, Cannon. And the talented frontman justified the hype and his inclusion from the start, with an impressive performance up front. Newly appointed team captain, Joe Hodge, also put on a classy display in the middle of the park
Speaking after the game Ireland manager Crawford said: “It (the game) was a fantastic end to a great week with the players. They’ve been exceptional all week. A few of the players didn’t get on the pitch today but their time will come – we’ve another window in June.
“We had to manage the sending off. We went in at half-time one all and against a team with four senior internationals so we knew it was going to be a challenge. We went a goal down, we concede again but it was ruled out and we had to get back to the basics. The players showed character, Irish pride, Irish passion and I thought in the second half we were exceptional. I said it to the boys at the start of the week I was excited by them and they didn’t let me down
“We had 6,000 plus in the stadium today – for a friendly – and it’s about inspiring those fans. I want to thank them for their amazing support and I’m delighted for them, the players and the staff.”
Republic of Ireland: Tiernan Brooks, Sam Curtis, Anselmo Garcia MacNulty, Bosun Lawal (Tayo Adaramola, 82 mins), Sean Roughan, Festy Ebosele, Joe Hodge, Killian Phillips, Andy Moran (Kian Leavy, 62), Ollie O’Neill (Sinclair Armstrong, 62), Tom Cannon (Johnny Kenny, 76).
Iceland: Adam Ingi Bebnediktsson (Olafur Kristoffer Helgason, 45 mins), Jakob Franz Palsson (Arnor Gauti Jonsson, 88), Robert Orri Thorkelsson, Olafur Gudmundsson (Orri Hrafn Kjartansson, 69), Anton Logi Ludviksson, Andri Fannar Baldursson, Eythor Aron Wohler (Lukas Logi Heimisson, 45), Kristall Mani Ingason, Isak Andri Sigurgeirsson (Ulfur August Bjornsson, 69), Oli Valur Omarsson (Andi Hoti, 8), Danjel Dejan Djuric
Referee: Jamie Robinson (Northern Ireland)