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21.11.2008 at 11:00 Centenary - Ta' Qali - Malta Attendance: 150
Malta 0 - 2 Rep of Ireland Under 19
Referee: Istvan Vad (HUN) European Qualifier / PROG T/S-match

None Niall Mc Ardle (80)
Paul Murphy- 91 (88)
Opening squads
Daniel Balzan
Timothy Fleri Soler
Owen Bugeja
Jonathan Xerri
Kane Paul Farrugia
Tristan Caruana
Rowen Muscat
Dylan Grima
Terence Vella
Miguel Ciantar
Elkien Cauchi
Kieron Thorpe
Danny Kelly
Olanrewaju Oyebanjo
Gavin Gunning
Niall Mc Ardle
Conor Clifford
Paul Murphy- 91
Damien Mc Crory
Jamie Devitt
Gearoid Morrissey
Ian Daly
Christopher Francica
Clevean Cassar
Christopher Mckay
Jean Paul Farrugia
Leighton Grech
Randall Refalo
David Ryan Zammit
Gerard Hanley
Mark Connolly
Aaron Doran
Shane O'Connor
Richard Towell
Patrick Madden
James Collins
Terence Vella (out)
Jean Paul Farrugia (in)64 mins;
Miguel Ciantar (out)
Leighton Grech (in)74 mins;
Aaron Doran -> Damien Mc Crory (68)
Patrick Madden -> Jamie Devitt (83)
Richard Towell -> Olanrewaju Oyebanjo (88)
Yellow cards
Elkien Cauchi 37 Mins; Conor Clifford (37)
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Malta

The Republic of Ireland U19 side produced a professional performance in this morning's UEFA Championship qualifier against a resilient Malta side at the Centenary Stadium in Ta'Qali.

Second half goals from Niall McArdle and Paul Murphy gave the Irish a massive boost in their quest for qualification to the UEFA Championship finals in Ukraine next summer.

Malta started strongly and really took the game to their Irish counterparts and they had their first real opportunity after four minutes when striker, Terence ran on to a cross from the right hand side but his effort whizzed over Kieron Thorp's crossbar from six yards.

Manchester City's Ian Daly almost took the lead for the Irish after 15 minutes when Paul Murphy whipped in a pin-point free-kick into the box from the right, Daly shot on the volley but his effort was just over the bar.

Malta enjoyed a large period of sustained pressure in the Irish box mid-way through the first half. Malta striker, Ciantar Miguel almost gave his side the lead after 28 minutes when he got on the end of a low cross from Terence in the 6 yards box but Irish goalkeeper, Kieron Thorpe produced a magnificent save to push the ball out for a corner.

Thorpe once again came to Ireland's rescue in the 38th minute. Ciantar Miguel whipped in a looping cross from the right wing which came off the Irish cross bar and led to a goalmouth scramble but Malta midfielder, Dylan, managed to shoot at point-blank range straight at Thorpe who saved comfortably.

Irelandís defensive four of Lanre Oyebanjo, Gavin Gunning, Danny Kelly and Niall McArdle were outstanding as they coped comfortably with Maltaís attacking force throughout the first half.

The Irish started the second half in a confident mood and Conor Clifford almost scored after 52 minutes with a sensational effort as he collected the ball at the edge of the box and powered his shot at Daniel Balzan in Malta's goal who was at full stretch to push it over the crossbar.

The introduction of Blackburn Rover's midfielder, Aaron Doran, in the second half created severe problems for the Malta defence who failed to deal with his attacking threat. He almost broke the deadlock after 75 minutes when he gained possession from 25 yards out and tried an audacious effort which went just to the left of the post.

The Irish took a deserved lead after 80 minutes when the ball fell to Ian Daly from a Paul Murphy corner, his powerful effort was spilled by Malta's goalkeeper before Niall McArdle out-muscled his marker to steer the ball into the back of the net.

Following the goal, Ireland were brimming with confidence and should have added to their advantage, Aaron Doran was unlucky to see his effort cannoning of the crossbar before Ipswich Town midfielder, Paul Murphy, produced the moment of the match as he spotted Daniel Balzan off his line and applied a wonderful finish from 25 yards to wrap up the victory for Sean McCaffrey's men with 88 minutes on the clock.

Sean McCaffrey was delighted with his side's performance in a tough opening game, "This game was always going to be the most vital in this group for a number of reasons.

"We are obviously up against the host nation on a synthetic pitch, it is never easy to adjust to this type of surface with just a small number of training sessions. You also have to remember that this is an extremely young team with a large number of them available for selection next year, including 8 members of last year's successful U17."

"Overall, the attitude among the whole team was superb, they came out in the second half and dominated from start to finish and with the game scoreless in the final quarter, they never panicked and took their chances when they came. We will now look ahead to the next game against Liechtenstein where we will be looking to pick up maximum points heading into the France game next week," McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey will have to access a number of players who suffered slight injuries in the game, "We do have a slight worry about Gavin Gunning, Conor Clifford, Lanre Oyebanjoe and Ian Daly who all picked up small knocks in the tough, physical encounter but we are not overly concerned about it and we will access the players straight after the game," added McCaffrey.

The Irish now face Liechtenstein in their second game in the first qualifying phase of the UEFA Championships knowing that a win would all but secure a spot in the next qualifying phase. The game will take place on Sunday, November 23rd at 15.00 hrs (local time)

Republic of Ireland v Malta
Kieron Thorp - Crystal Palace
Lanre Oyebanjo - Histon
Gavin Gunning - Blackburn Rovers
Danny Kelly - Norwich City
Niall McArdle - Sunderland
Conor Clifford - Chelsea
Jamie Devitt - Hull City
Gearoid Morrissey - Blackburn Rovers
Ian Daly - Manchester City
Damien McCrory - Plymouth Argyle
Paul Murphy - Ipswich Town

Gerard Hanley - Galway United
Shane OíConnor - Liverpool
Aaron Doran - Blackburn Rovers (on for Damien McRory, 67 mins)
Paddy Madden - Bohemians (on for Jamie Devitt, 82 mins)
James Collins - Aston Villa
Richie Towell - Celtic (on for Lanre Oyebanjo, 89 mins)
Mark Connolly - Wolves

UEFA Championship first qualifying phase fixtures
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Malta
Friday, November 21st
Kick-off: 11.00am (local time)

Republic of Ireland v Liechtenstein
Sunday, November 23rd
Kick-off: 15.00pm (local time)

France v Republic of Ireland
Wednesday, November 26th
Kick-off: 11.00am (local time)
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