Ireland U21s begin UEFA Championships campaign with win in Toftir
Faroe Islands 1 Republic of Ireland 4
THE Republic of Ireland U21 team began their UEFA Championships qualifying campaign with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over the Faroe Islands in Toftir tonight.
Noel King's side bounced back from the concession of an early goal to run out comfortable winners thanks to a first half individual goal by Samir Carruthers, a second half double from Matt Doherty and an Aiden O'Brien finish.
The home side had previously drawn 2-2 at home to Romania and on an artificial surface and blustery conditions they proved a tough nut to crack.
The Faroes took the lead in the 14th minute when a stray back pass was pounced on by one of the home forwards and it was squared for captain Gilli Sorensen to knock past the exposed Aaron McCarey.
Sean Murray had tested Faroes goalkeeper Kristian Joensen with a free-kick moments before that goal so it was very much against the run of play.
Ireland did not take long to level and just nine minutes after falling behind they were level through Samir Carruthers. The midfielder, who is on-loan to MK Dons from Aston Villa, produced a brilliant solo effort to burst past the home defence on the right before sweeping the ball home with his left foot.
Callum Reilly had a good chance to snatch a lead for Ireland just before half-time but his 42nd minute effort was well saved by keeper Joensen.
The Irish took the lead in the 68th minute when Matt Doherty headed home from a cross by Carruthers after the midfielder's initial corner had been poorly cleared by the home defence.
Doherty made it 3-1 in the 88th minute when he latched onto a clever pass from Sean Murray before diverting it past the keeper.
Aiden O'Brien put Ireland 4-1 up in the 90th minute after an assist from Sean McGinty following a goal-mouth scramble.
Ireland sit top of Group Six and will host Germany at the Showgrounds, Sligo, on September 9 in their next fixture.
King was pleased with the result. "It was very much a battle, it was dogged performance. We stuck with it and showed great desire. It was a tough start but they kept going right to the end," said the Irish boss.
"Their goal was a giveaway but the whole team made up for it. The reaction was very good. Samir scored a great individual goal but everybody contributed. Matt Doherty did very well breaking from midfield and it was pleasing to see him score two important goals."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: McCarey, Shaughnessy, McGinty, O'Connor, Duffy, Doherty, Harriman (Grealish 92), Carruthers, Murray (Sutherland 91), Reilly, O'Brien.
FAROE ISLANDS: K Joensen, B Hansen, Nattestad, Christiansen, Askham, Rógvi Joensen, Ellingsgaard, R Joensen (Ellefsen 83), Petersen (I Joensen 87), Sørensen, Fredriksberg (Ingason 59).