O'Brien double helps U21s beat Dutch
NOEL KING'S Republic of Ireland U21 team produced an impressive display to beat the Netherlands 3-0 in a friendly at Tallaght Stadium.
Millwall striker Aiden O'Brien marked his debut at this level with a first half double before Anthony Forde wrapped up the scoring with a second half spot-kick.
The Dutch gave the Irish defence plenty to think about early on and home keeper Aaron McCarey made a stunning save to keep out a misdirected header by defender Derrick Williams in the third minute and Dutch captain Alex Schalk hit the post with a deflected shot.
O'Brien gave Ireland the opener when he steered home from Forde's cross in the tenth minute and might have made it two in the 22nd minute when he outstripped the Dutch defence but pulled his shot wide.
Forde was the provider once more for the second goal eight minutes before the break with a wide free-kick that Shane Duffy headed on and O'Brien swept to the net with is.
Wolves midfielder Forde wrapped up the scoring when he expertly fired home from a 57th-minute penalty to seal a memorable win after he was fouled by Stefano Denswil to earn the penalty.
Substitute keeper Sean McDermott made a late save to deny Joel Veltman as the home side held on for the victory.
The Irish U21s had beaten Italy in their previous fixture and meet Portugal in another home friendly on March 25 while their opening competitive game in the next UEFA Championships qualifying tournament is away to the Faroe Islands on August 14.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Aaron McCarey (Sean McDermott 46); Matt Doherty (Joe Shaughnessy 46), Derrick Williams (Anthony O’Connor 46), Shane Duffy, Sean McGinty (Carl McHugh 46); Anthony Forde, Kane Ferdinand (John O’Sullivan 35), Samir Carruthers (Frankie Sutherland 46), Callum Reilly (Cian Bolger 64), Sean Murray; Aiden O’Brien (Chris Forrester 56).
NETHERLANDS: Stefan van der Lei (Hobie Verhulst 46); Mike te Wierik, Timo Letschert (Joel Veltman 46), Ted van de Pavert (Stefano Denswil 46), Nick Bakker (Peter van Ooijen 46); Luciano Slagveer (Jodu Lukoki 46), Jesper Drost, Kevin Jansen, Stanley Elbers; Alex Schalk (Arsenio Valpoort 46), Hakim Ziyech.
Referee: Mervyn Smith (IFA).