'We contributed to our own downfall' admits King after six-goal drubbing
Ireland U21s 0-6 Germany U21s
Facing the European champions was rather inopportune for an Ireland Under-21 side expected to supply a glimmer of hope for the future.
Germany not only inflicted the heaviest defeat of Noel King's eight-year term as manager but vanquished their ambitions of reaching next year's European Championships in Italy via the direct route.
The Boys in Green needed a result at Tallaght Stadium against the group leaders to keep pace, but getting completely outclassed demotes them to a battle with Norway for second spot.
While three of Germany's six goals came from the penalty spot, it was still men against boys in every sense. Alexander Nubel in the visitors' goal was never troubled over the 90 minutes.
Every German player had sampled top-tier experience in the Bundesliga. Monaco paid €23m to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer for senior international Benjamin Henrichs.
Ryan Manning, currently on loan at Championship club Rotherham United, was the highest ranking player at club level in the Ireland ranks.
"Germany are a superb side but we certainly contributed to our own downfall," said a shell-shocked King afterwards.
"They were 2-0 up until the final 25 minutes and I don't know what happened to our lads after that. It was the weirdest game I've ever been involved in because our players worked hard until the end and played well. However, I definitely feel a shame about the scoreline."
It was all too easy for the Germans from the moment Aaron Seydel grabbed the lead after six minutes by stroking the ball beyond Kieran O'Hara. Seydel missed a sitter to double the lead before Jake Mulraney committed a foul on Lukas Klostermann to allow Cedric Teuchert convert a penalty on 22 minutes.
Ireland had lost debutant Sean McLoughlin at that stage to a foot injury and his replacement Shaun Donnellan did little to stem the tide.
Germany upped the gears in the second half. Teuchert was presented a third on 65 minutes when O'Hara's weak clearance was collected by Newhaus who teed him up to rifle home, and he notched his hat-trick eight minutes later.
Liam Kinsella's foul on Max Eggestein offered Teuchert another opportunity to hammer a penalty home, which he duly did.
Two goals by Suat Serdar completed the rout. On 82 minutes, he converted another penalty, with Mulraney once again tripping Klostermann. The Schalke forward then back-heeled in a second to rub Ireland's nose in it.
"We've had a really good campaign up to this, with only one defeat in the previous seven qualifiers," reasoned King.
"The players will have to find a way to respond and I think they can. We just need to get six points in our last two games to try get into a play-off."
IRELAND - K O'Hara (Macclesfield); C Whelan (Crewe), R Delaney (Rochdale), C Shaughnessy (Leeds), S McLoughlin (Cork City); L Kinsella (Walsall), J Cullen (Charlton); H Charsley (Everton), R Manning (Rotherham), J Mulraney (Hearts); R Greco-Cox (Crawley). Subs: S Donnellan (Yeovil) for McLoughlin (16); J McGrath (Dundalk) for Manning (55), J Quigley (Maidstone) for Mulraney (88).
GERMANY - A Nubel (Schalke); L Klostermann (Leipzig), T Baumgartl (Stuttgart), W Anton (Hannover), J Torunarigha (Hertha); B Henrichs (Monaco), E Lowen (Nuremberg), F Newhaus (Monchengladbach), M Eggestein (Werder Bremen); C Teuchert (Schalke), A Seydel (Holstein Kiel). Subs: S Serdar (Schalke) for Torunarigha (46), M Richter (Augsburg) for Seydel (54), A Maier (Hertha) for Lowen (67).
Referee - A Hernandez (Spain).