Ireland given a wake-up call by slick Mexicans
Ireland U-19 0 Mexico U-19 3
Mexico gave Ireland just the dry run they needed for the upcoming UEFA Championship elite stage qualifiers at Tallaght Stadium.
After a bright opening, the Irish were soon overpowered in midfield and left chasing shadows for long periods.
A slick three-man move down the right flank on 18 minutes ended with Mexico's Jose Ramirez teeing up Alejandro Diaz to find the top corner in off the post with a rocket of a shot.
Ireland were almost undone again 10 minutes later only for goalkeeper Eric Grimes to deny Luis Martir from point-blank range.
Alex O'Hanlon might have equalised on the half hour with a volley which angled wide, but the Mexicans made their dominance count with a second a minute before the interval.
Ramirez was once again the creator as his low cross was swept home past Grimes by Daniel Rios.
Ireland captain Sam Byrne, due to be released by Manchester United next month, was given scant service up front as the hosts struggled to create chances.
There were no such problems as the other end, with Mexico grabbing a third in the 89th minute when sub Diego Pineda volleyed home at the near post.
Ireland will need to improve for tomorrow's rematch at Dalymount Park (2.00) to enter the qualifiers with genuine ambitions of reaching the finals in Hungary in July.
Paul Doolin's side have to finish above Turkey, Iceland and champions Serbia in the mini-group they host from May 28-June 2 to secure a place at the eight-nation showpiece.
IRELAND – Grimes (Leeds); Baba (Fulham), Long (Reading), Heaney (Shamrock Rovers), Mosley (Birmingham City); Dimaio (Sheffield United) , Mulroney (St Pat's); O'Halloran (Fulham), O'Hanlon (Liverpool), Hallahan (West Brom); Byrne (Manchester United). Subs: Barnett (Brighton) for Hallahan (61), Kelly (Reading) for O'Hanlon (68), O'Sullivan (Aberdeen) for Byrne (73 ), Crowe (UCD) for Dimaio (85)
MEXICO – Resendez; Martir, Jaime (Vasquez 60), Bernal (Robles 73), Gutierrez; Flores (Guzman 80), Rodriguez (Polido 72); Ramirez (Gama 68), Rios (Pineda 68), Avalos; Diaz (Lainex 80)
REF – R Rogers (Dublin)