David Kelly: 'Troy Parrot's rise hits first speed bump on night where Ireland were frustrated by Italy'
Ireland 0 Italy 0
Last month, Aaron Connolly played for this team and, well, you may have heard he has done quite well for himself since.
Spurs' teen Troy Parrott, who many felt might make the breakthrough first, despite his tender years, has not shared similar fortune.
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Tonight was a depressing dip; a red card, however unjust, prematurely ending a frustrating night for Stephen Kenny's men.
After some harmless shapes were thrown, Everton's Moise Kean should have been booked and Parrott chided in the 65th minute.
Instead, the referee stunned all by dismissing both; Keane, instantly, Parrott with a second yellow.
Parrott, distraught, disappeared in tears, his green shirt a giant tissue, while assistant boss Keith Andrews was cautioned for expressing justified outrage at the fourth official.
Parrott’s first significant intervention had been to scythe Sandro Tonali to the floor 30 yards out from his own goal; a challenge deemed reckless enough by Teutonic tootler Sasscha Stegemann to earn him a yellow card.
Gianluca Scamacca’s wild free-kick delivery, last seen circling Dunnes Stores in the Square, ensured that the punishment was limited.
Ireland’s first chance came to Parrott, after 18 minutes, deriving unusually from the type of route one-football Kenny would presumably decry.
Kelleher drilled a low kick-out against the stiff breeze coming off the Dublin mountains for Adam Idah to chase and, after losing a tussle with a defender, Jayson Molumby played in Parrott, who smacked a low shot which Marco Carnesecchi smartly saved at his near post.
His was a fitful enough presence in the half, though; with Idah shoring up the centre, he seemed inhibited.
Idah was prominent again when found in more orthodox fashion by the excellent Molumby, re-establishing midfield dominance; the Norwich man’s lay-off found Connor Ronan and he also stung the goalie’s hands with a raking effort.
The half ended in rancour; a hint of the anarchy to follow.
Both captains were booked by the overly strict referee after the Italian, Manuel Locatelli, slumped to the floor, with an operatic dive worthy of La Scala after Molumby had raised his arm; little contact was evident.
Batoni was then booked for a crunching tackle; the referee was missing as much as he punished, though.
Italian boss Paolo Nicolato, resplendent in designer clobber, was clearly unhappy as he hauled off two front-men. Kean was one of those drafted in; his appearance would be brief.
Ireland remained bright. Idah, again chasing a Kelleher long pass, backed by sheeting rain.
Ireland patiently worked the ball from left to right, Zachary Elbouzedi found Idah, whose clever back-hell allowed Parrott a shot; unfortunately, it went wide.
Ten minutes later his night was ended when dismissed after a meaningless bout of pushing and shoving.
Not surprisingly, a foul brought the next chance; Molumby's rasper tipped over with nine minutes left.
Italy left, happier with the draw but knowing the return clash will be tasty in more ways than one.
Republic of Ireland: C Kelleher (Liverpool); C Masterson (QPR), D O’Shea (Wes Brom), L Scales (UCD); L O’Connor (Celtic), C Ronan (Wolves) (J Knight (Derby County 59), C Coventry (West Ham United), J Molumby capt (Millwall) (G Kilkenny (Bournemouth 85), Z Elbouzedi (Waterford) (M Obafemi (Southampton 68); T Parrott (Spurs), A Idah (Norwich City).
Italy: M Carneseccchi; E Del Prato, A Bastoni, R Marchizza (C Adjapong 23), L Pellegrini; M Locatelli capt, S Tonali, M Carraro; D Frattesi, A Pinamonti (PCurtone HT), G Scamacca (M Kean HT).
Ref: S Stegemann (Germany)