Drennan bags hat-trick as Ireland run riot
LUXEMBOURG U-19 2 IRELAND U-19 5
MIKEY DRENNAN underlined his prolific scoring talents by hitting a hat-trick as Ireland got their UEFA U-19 Championship qualifying campaign off to a perfect start by beating hosts Luxembourg.
The Kilkenny native, now with Aston Villa, who netted in last month's friendly in Latvia, opened the scoring at the Alphonese Theis stadium with just eight minutes gone and doubled Ireland's lead 13 minutes later.
Paul Doolin's side stretched into a commanding 3-0 lead midway through the half when skipper Tommie Hoban got forward from defence to score.
Though Chris Pereira pulled one back for the mini-group hosts two minutes shy of the break, Ireland capitalised from another set-piece 10 minutes into the second half as Manchester United's Sam Byrne struck to make it 4-1.
Milos Todorovic managed to reduce those arrears once again 10 minutes from time, but Villa star Drennan slammed home his hat-trick goal two minutes later from a free-kick to seal a 5-2 triumph.
The Irish can secure one of the two places from the pool into the elite stage with victory tomorrow over Macedonia, who were hammered 5-0 by top seeds Germany in yesterday's other Group 5 tie.
Ireland face the Germans in Tuesday's concluding tie of the four-nation group.
IRELAND -- Lawlor (Manchester City); Baba (Castlebar Celtic), Sweeney (Reading), Hoban (Watford, capt), Griffin (Reading); Gallagher (Burnley), Sadlier (West Ham Utd), Dillon (Hull City); Drennan (Aston Villa), Byrne (Manchester United), Garmston (WBA). Subs: Wilkinson (Millwall) for Drennan (82), Coombes (St Patrick's Athletic) for Sadlier (88).