Walsh's penalty double bags finals spot for Irish
Ligue de Normandie 0
IRELAND'S amateurs qualified for the UEFA Regions Cup finals for the fourth time by emphatically brushing aside the challenge of French representatives Ligue de Normandie at Tallaght Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The Irish, a combination of players from Munster and Leinster, needed to win in order to qualify and Gerry Smith's side duly sealed the victory thanks to a penalty double from James Walsh and a superb third from Ray Whelehan at the death.
Walsh put the Irish in front from the spot after only eight minutes as the Irish skipper crashed home after Whelehan was upended in the box.
The Irish should have doubled their advantage soon after when Ian Callaghan slipped in behind the visitors' offside trap, but the Wayside Celtic striker was denied by a fine close-range save from Romain Guichaux.
The home side had to wait until the 76th minute to double their advantage, and again it was from the spot. This time it was Danny Loughran who was the victim of another rash challenge, Mohamadou Sy the villain of the piece, and Walsh duly converted his low shot into the corner of the net.
With the game all but up, Whelehan added a brilliant third as the midfielder skipped through a couple of desperate French challenges before dispatching a low shot past a despairing Guichaux to put the gloss on an excellent performance.