Defence Forces win opening WMG qualifier
The Irish started slowly and were lucky not to be behind to an early Lithuanian header but recovered well and started to take control of the game without creating many chances until Adrian Rafferty got off the end of an Aidan Friel cross to put the Irish one in front at the break without having found their best form.
The Irish came out a much better team in the second half and began putting the Lithuanians under pressure and missed some good opportunities before Lee Delaney got on the end of a Ricky Fox freekick to volley Ireland into a 2-0 lead.
Three substitutions gave the Irish a fresh attacking impetuous, with the pressure paying off when Fox turned provider again for Sean Guirens to volley into the bottom corner.
It looked like Ireland would have to miss out on the fourth goal they desperately wanted to equal France's score against the Lithuanians until the 92nd minute when substitute Tony Smith got in behind to the Defence to slot past the excellent Lithuanian keeper.
Manager Richie Barber was delighted after the game with his team: “The staff and players have given everything to this and now we need to refocus and get ready for a big test Friday. We are in the strange position that if we win we will go to China as Europe’s top team, draw we qualify for the World Military Games and lose and we could end up not qualifying on goal difference. But I believe in the team and we have the ability to get a good result on Friday if we are at our best.”
Ireland go into Friday's match knowing a win or a draw will guarantee qualification for the competition in China in October 2019.
Republic of Ireland: Ken Deegan, Ricky Fox, Sean Guerins, lee Delaney, David long, Aidan Friel, Glenn Fullam, Chris Kenny, David stack, Adrian Rafferty, Jody Dillon
Subs used: Sean Poutch, Ben Donoughue, Tony Smith