REPORT: Brian Maher Starts As Ireland U17s Beat Faroe Islands
Republic of Ireland 4-0 Faroe Islands
St Patrick's Athletic U17 goalkeeper Brian Maher kept a clean sheet and played the full game as the Republic of Ireland U17s hammered the Faroe Islands 4-0 in their opening UEFA U17 Championships Elite Qualifying Round game.
Saints Richie O'Farrell and Luke Nolan also came on in Paphos, Cyprus.
Colin O'Brien's side scored two goals either side of half-time to claim all three points.
Brighton's Aaron Connolly bagged two first-half goals with Adam Idah and Jordan Doherty scoring early in the second half.
Slovakia beat hosts Cyprus 2-1 in the other game in Group 8.
Ireland meet Slovakia on Friday in their next fixture (KO 1.15pm Irish time)
Galway native Connolly opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he got onto an excellent long pass from Nathan Collins on the left flank then cut in on his right foot before finding the net in the far corner with a top class finish.
Connolly hit the net once more in the 23rd minute when he got his head to a Lee O'Connor cross from the right to steer the ball home after good work in the build-up by Glen McAuley.
College Corinthians striker Adam Idah put Ireland 3-0 up just one minute into the second half when he connected with a sublime pass by Rowan Roache before producing a clinical finish.
Just two minutes later Jordan Doherty grabbed the fourth Irish goal when he found the net following a Roache corner that Idah did well to cut back for Doherty.
Head Coach Colin O'Brien spoke to FAI.IE after the game.
"I'm very pleased with our start to the group. We had a very positive approach to it and were the dominant side from the start. It was a very professional performance."
"The Faroes defended very deep early on and got lots of men behind the ball but we've been in that position before and the players knew how to manage it. We moved the ball well and we scored two good goals in the first half."
"In the second half, they came out and looked to press us and we took advantage when the opportunities arose."
So what does he make of Friday's opposition?
"Slovakia are next up for us. Recovery mode kicks in for us now. Our session and preparation on Thursday will all focused on getting everything right for Slovakia, who showed by beating Cyprus that they're a good side and we'll have to be ready for that challenge."
Republic of Ireland team: Maher; O'Connor, Collins, Doherty, Ledwidge; Roache (Kavanagh, 71), Bolger (O'Farrell, 52), Coventry; McAuley, Idah, Connolly (Nolan, 63).
Friday, 17 March: Republic of Ireland v Slovakia, Paphiakos Stadium, Paphos (CYP), KO 13:15
Monday, 20 March: Republic of Ireland v Cyprus, Kouklia Community Stadium, Paphos (CYP), KO 13:00
Report thanks to FAI.IE