The Republic of Ireland and Italy played out a scoreless draw in this evening’s 2021 European U21 Championship qualifier played in Tallaght Stadium. Manager Stephen Kenny expressed satisfaction with the performance of his team in a hugely competitive contest played in front of an attendance of 7,231. What will be of some concern is discipline, as Ireland received six yellow cards, the last of them being a second for Troy Parrott, who was dismissed on 64 minutes following an exchange with £20 million Everton striker Moise Kean, who received a straight red. Ireland had seven attempts on goal with five of them on target while only one of the Italian’s ten attempts was on target. As the statistics suggest, Caoimhin Kelleher was largely untroubled in goals, having just one save to make, while the back four also proved quite resilient. Man of the Match was unquestionably Norwich City striker Adam Idah who was excellent, giving the Italian central defenders a torrid time. Idah appears to have added that bit of aggression to his skill set which augers well for the future. The sponsors ‘MoM’ award went to Conor Coventry.
The coaching staff and squad will now take stock, recharge their batteries and prepare for their assignment against Iceland in Reykjavik at 4pm next Tuesday afternoon. Ipswich Town striker Aaron Drinan, currently on loan with Swedish side GAIS in Gothenburg, together with 18 year old Bohemian winger Danny Grant have been called into the squad as replacements, with Parrott suspended and one or two players carrying knocks. Captain Jayson Molumby and fellow midfielder Conor Coventry were both yellow carded for the second time last night and a third card would mean a one match suspension.
The management will no doubt have kept a close watch on the contest between Sweden and Iceland in Helsingborg on Saturday afternoon which ended in a 5-0 victory for the hosts.
Team: Caoimhin Kelleher; Conor Masterson, Dara O’Shea, Liam Scales; Lee O’Connor; Conor Coventry, Connor Ronan, Jayson Molumby(C), Zachery Elbouzedi; Adam Idah, Troy Parrott
Jason Knight for Ronan 62′
Michael Obafemi for Elbouzedi 68′
Gavin Kilkenny for Molumby 85′
P W D L F A Pts
Ireland 4 3 1 0 7 1 10
Iceland 3 2 0 1 9 6 6
Italy 2 1 1 0 5 0 4
Sweden 2 1 0 1 6 3 3
Armenia 3 1 0 2 3 7 3
Luxembourg 4 0 0 4 0 13 0