03.03.2006 at 16:00 La Manga
2 - 4
Rep of Ireland Under 19
Referee: Willie Collum (Scotland)
Tournament / T/S-match
Jon P Kelly
Anthony Stokes scored a hat trick to lift the Rep. of Ireland to top the Group in the La Manga Under 19 Tournament today.
The pressure was on Ireland as Scotland had earlier defeated Norway by two goals to one.
This left Scotland top of the group with five points. Ireland had 4 points.
Manager Sean Mc Caffrey brought back Stephen Henderson, James O’ Brien, Ross Gaynor, Martin Reilly and Mark Mukendi to start against the Finns.
Ireland got off to the perfect start when after five minutes Anthony Stokes set up Ross Gaynor to slot home from close range, seven minutes later Gaynor turned provider when he set up Stokes against a stunned Finnish defence as Stokes stroked the ball home from 10 yards. Anthony Stokes got his second on 26 minutes after Stephen Henderson had produced a wonderful save at the other end. Things looked bad for the shocked Finns but on they pulled back two goals just before half time as Ireland’s defence took their foot off the pedal.
Sean McCaffrey made two changes at half time, Eddie Nolan replaced Mark Mukendi and Kieran Murphy replaced Sean Kelly and this seemed to steady the defence and on 49 minutes Anthony Stokes got the goal of the game when he chipped the Finnish goalkeeper from the edge of the box after creating the chance for himself.
The Irish always looked in control in the second half, Jonathan Hayes and John Paul Kelly worked tirelessly in midfield along with Stephen Gleeson and James O’ Brien. Billy Dennehy forced the Finnish goalkeeper to make a brilliant save with his first touch when introduced for hat-trick hero Anthony Stokes on 63 minutes. Finland never really forced any pressure on the Irish goal and eventually ran out 4-2 winners to clinch the Tournament.
Sean Mc Caffrey the Irish Manager thanked the organisers of the Tournament for the opportunity to play in the tournament and to try players under the same match conditions they would face in a UEFA Competition, he thanked the players and his backroom staff for their professionalism over the week.
Republic of Ireland: Stephen Henderson [Aston Villa],Sean Kelly [Arsenal], Martin Reilly [Burnley], Mark Mukendi [Derry City], Jonathan Hayes [Reading],John Paul Kelly [Bohemians], Ross Gaynor [Millwall], James O’ Brien [Glasgow Celtic], Anthony Stokes [Arsenal], Stephen Gleeson [Wolves]
Subs: Edward Nolan [Blackburn Rvs] for Mark Mukendi, Kieran Murphy [MK Dons] for Sean Kelly both half time, Billy Dennehy [Sunderland] for Anthony Stokes [63 mins], Conor Powell [Bohemians] for Ross Gaynor [74 mins] James Chambers [Shelbourne] for John Paul Kelly [82 mins]
Yellow Card: Martin Reilly [85 min]