Republic of Ireland 3 - 1 Iceland | 2018 - U21 Mens Friendlies | 999944522

Under-21 Mens Friendlies International Friendly | Tallaght Stadium, Dublin
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Republic of Ireland 3 - 1 Iceland

  • Report
  • Preview
  • Lineups
  • Minute by Minute Commentary
  • Statistics

Hale brothers score on U21 debut in Iceland win

Republic of Ireland U21s secured an impressive friendly victory over Iceland ahead of Tuesday's UEFA U21 European Championship qualifier against Azerbaijan.
22nd Mar 2018

The Hale brothers, Rory and Ronan, scored either side of Ryan Manning's first-half strike to make it a night to remember for the Derry City footballers.

It only took 14 seconds for Ireland to score the opener. Straight from kick-off, Joe Quigley knocked the ball down for Derry City forward Ronan Curtis and he found Rory Hale, who turned and slid the ball home.

Ireland continued to dominate the first-half as Josh Cullen fired over from 20 yards out and Ryan Manning saw his low 25-yard free-kick palmed away just past the half-hour.

Five minutes from the break, Manning doubled Ireland's lead. The QPR man won the ball back and played a neat one-two with Curtis to fire home over the keeper.

Iceland pulled a goal back in the 67th minute through Stefan Ljubicic who produced a curling finish off-the-post as Ireland made a number of changes during the second-half. Jake Doyle Hayes, James Dunne and Ronan Hale all came on for their U21 debut ahead of Tuesday's qualifier.

In the final minute, the latter marked his debut with a goal. The Icelandic keeper Aron Fridriksson could only clear the ball as far as Hale who found the net from 40 yards with a spectacular finish.

Republic of Ireland U21 Head Coach Noel King said: "We're really happy with the performance. We scored some great goals and seeing how many changes we made, it shows a great strength and depth in the squad.

"We let them come on to us during the second-half but I thought we managed it well and deserved the victory. It is great preparation for us going into Tuesday's game. We need to perform to those levels once again to get an important three points."

Republic of Ireland: Liam Bossin (GK), Liam Kinsella, Danny Kane (Jake Doyle Hayes 85), Ryan Sweeney (Ryan Delaney 46) Corey Whelan (James Dunne 72), Josh Cullen, Connor Dimaio, Joe Quigley (Ronan Hale 68), Ryan Manning, Ronan Curtis, Rory Hale (Olamide Shodipo 46).

Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK).

Captain Cullen delighted with U21 POTY award

Republic of Ireland U21 captain Josh Cullen has described his pride after he picked up the U21 Player of the Year award at the FAI Awards on Sunday.
21st Mar 2018

The U21 squad is currently preparing to face Iceland on Thursday, March 22 and Azerbaijan on Tuesday, March 27 at Tallaght Stadium.

Cullen picked up the award after his inspirational displays in the campaign having skippered the team to victories over Israel, Kosovo and Azerbaijan so far. The West Ham United midfielder hopes to continue his international progress during the rest of the campaign.

The 21-year old said: "It was a fantastic honour for me and my family to win the award. I didn't expect to win it and it was a brilliant evening.

"I've always tried my best whilst playing for the U21s and we've been able to pick up some great results during the campaign so far. We need to keep that run going and these next two games will be crucial in achieving qualification.

"I feel like I've developed as a player during my time with the U21s and I think the whole squad have. We're getting stronger as a group as the campaign progresses and even though we lost for the first time in the campaign against Norway last time out, I really think we're in a strong position."

Thursday's friendly opponents Iceland currently sit third in their qualifying group, behind Spain and Northern Ireland, and will give Noel King's side the perfect preparation ahead of the Azerbaijan qualifier.

Cullen continued: "There is no better preparation than getting out on the pitch and playing. Match practice is really important especially against quality opponents like Iceland.

"There is plenty of competition for places at the moment with a few lads pushing for a start and a few lads not coming into the squad until later in the week.

"Competition is always good for any squad and we need to make sure we get a good performance in against Iceland before the qualifier next week."

Tickets for the two matches at Tallaght Stadium against Iceland and Azerbaijan are currently available via Ticketmaster and are priced at €5 for adults and FREE for U16s. Tickets will also be available on the gate. 


TEAM NEWS: Harry Charsley and Connor Ronan are no longer available for the squad and defender Shaun Donnellan is a doubt for the Iceland fixture.

Reece Grego-Cox, Jake Mulraney, Declan Rice and Kieran O'Hara will meet up with the squad later in the week and will also miss the Iceland fixture.