Byrne bags treble in rout
Ireland U-17 8 LIECHTENSTEIN U-17 0
MANCHESTER UNITED'S Sam Byrne helped himself to a hat-trick as Ireland demolished Liechtenstein in their opening game of the U-17 European Championship first-phase qualifiers.
John Morling's boys in green were utterly dominant in Almaty and they will qualify for the next phase if they win tomorrow against mini-group hosts Kazakhstan, who were beaten 2-0 by the Czech Republic yesterday.
Byrne, from Naas in Co Kildare, played a year above his age in last season's U-17 campaign and his class showed against such frail opponents.
Liechtenstein held out until the 11th minute when centre-back Ryan O'Reilly connected with Gary O'Neill's corner and his header found the net off the underside of the crossbar.
O'Neill raced clear 10 minutes later to add a second before Byrne grabbed his first within another seven minutes.
Jonathan Leddy, from the penalty spot on 32 minutes, and Kyle McFadden (37) added further goals to leave Ireland five up at the break.
Jack Grealish added the sixth on 49 minutes and Byrne completed the rout with two more -- a penalty on the hour and from close range in stoppage-time.
IRELAND - S Fagan (Coventry); C Whittle (De La Salle), K McFadden (Norwich ), R O'Reilly (Stoke), S Coyne (Cherry Orchard); D Hayes (Derby), J Leddy (Ipswich ), G O'Neill (Wolves); D McGlade (Middlesbrough), S Byrne (Man United), J Grealish (Aston Villa). Subs: D O'Reilly (Fulham) for Coyne (h-t), C Wilkinson (Millwall) for Grealish (58), K O'Connor (St Pat's Ath) for Leddy (69).