Monday 20 August 2018

Hale on target just 14 seconds into debut

Ireland U-21 3 Iceland U-21 1

Rory Hale. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Rory Hale. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Derry City midfielder Rory Hale took just 14 seconds to mark his U-21 international debut with a goal that fired Ireland on the way to victory against Iceland at Tallaght Stadium.

Following the early breakthrough, Ireland extended their lead through Ryan Manning's third goal at this level four minutes before the break.

Stefan Alexander Ljubcic's ferocious strike on 64 minutes gave the visitors hope but another of the Hale brothers from Derry, substitute Ronan, made the win safe in stoppage time.

An experimental Ireland side didn't waste time in making their mark.

Straight from kick-off, Ryan Sweeney's deep ball to the left was nodded on by Ronan Curtis to Joe Quigley, who returned the pass.

Curtis then found Hale 10 yards out with his back to goal and his Derry City team-mate swivelled before drilling a low shot beyond Aron Snear Fridriksson.

Ronan Curtis in action against Hans Viktor Gudmundsson. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ronan Curtis in action against Hans Viktor Gudmundsson. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Despite a corner from Kristofer Ingi Kristinsson curling on to the crossbar after 15 minutes, the home side were untroubled by Iceland for the rest of the half and worthy of an extended lead by the interval.

Josh Cullen wasted a good chance, while Manning's free-kick forced Fridriksson to tip the ball out for a corner. Manning, a recent goalscorer for QPR against Aston Villa, grabbed his deserved goal following another assist by Curtis.

The Galway native made an interception just inside the visitors' half and exchanged passes with the Derry man before firing a rising shot into the top corner from 12 yards.

King's objective of offering a showcase for the supporting cast resulted in a string of substitutions and they looked a little ragged by the time Ljubcic smashed a first-time shot in off the upright.

Republic of Ireland manager Noel King. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Noel King. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

However, the younger Hale brother popped up late on to seize upon a goalkeeping error and finish from a wide angle.

IRELAND - Bossin (Notts Forest); Kinsella (Walsall), Whelan (Yeovil Town), Sweeney (Bristol Rovers), Kane (Cork City); Cullen (West Ham), Dimaio (unattached); Rory Hale (Derry City), Manning (QPR), Curtis (Derry City); Quigley (Boreham Wood).

Subs: Shodipo (Colchester) for Hale, Delaney (Burton Albion) for Sweeney (46), Ronan Hale (Derry City) for Quigley (64), Dunne (Accrington) for Whelan (72), Doyle-Hayes (Aston Villa) for Kane (86).

ref - Robert Hennessy

Irish Independent

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