Under-21 Friendly International
Lithuania 0-3 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland Under-21s recorded a comprehensive victory in Lithuania, overcoming the hosts 3-0.
Goals from Jimmy Ryan (left), Owen Garvan and an own goal from Denis Gordej handed the Irish victory in a game they controlled from start to finish.
Indeed, the score-line could have been greater but for Lithuanian ‘keeper Vytautas Cerniauskas saving a penalty kick.
The home side registered the first shot on goal after 10 minutes when Povilas Krasnovskis shot through a crowded goalmouth. However, Shane Redmond easily dealt with the danger.
Ireland finished the half strongly and carved out three good opportunities during the final ten minutes of the half.
First, Owen Garvan came close when he headed Stephen Gleeson’s corner kick goalward, while two minutes later Anthony Pilkington almost marked his Ireland debut with a goal but his effort from Sean Scannell’s cross rebounded off the post.
Scannell almost got off the mark on 40 minutes but the ball was taken off his toe by some last ditch defending.
It was one-way traffic for most of the second half, with Ireland dominating the game and enjoying great space down both flanks through the lively Scannell and debutant Jay O’Shea.
The two wingers combined on 50 minutes and almost broke the deadlock when Scannell pulled the ball back for O’Shea, whose shot from eight yards was well saved.
Three minutes later, Ireland had the ball on the penalty spot after Viktor Pasin handled Eddie Nolan’s cross-goal header.
Owen Garvan stepped up to take the spot kick but he saw his effort saved.
Ireland continued to pile on the pressure on it paid off on 74 minutes when Jimmy Ryan struck a beautiful shot from 25 yards into the top corner to give Ireland the lead.
Nine minutes later the game was put beyond doubt when Garvan drilled the ball across goal and Gordej deflected the ball into his own net.
Garvan was to get his name on the score-sheet, however. Collecting the ball wide right, the Ipswich Town man drifted inside and majestically curled the ball into the top corner from 18 yards to round off a good night for the young Irish side.
It was the third goal in two matches at this level for Garvan, following his brace in last month’s 2-2 draw against Portugal in Madeira.
Irish manager Don Givens said afterwards: “It was a very satisfactory performance. They played with ten men behind the ball and made it very difficult for us to make space, but we put in a very disciplined performance, kept plugging away and got what we deserved.
“We had two very good debuts from Ian Bermingham and Jay O’Shea. Anthony Pilkington also made his debut but it was very hard for him because he was up front with absolutely no space. All the players performed very well and it is a good result for us.”
Lithuania: Vitkauskas (Cerniauskas, h/t), Klimavicius (Statkevicius, 90 mins.), Fridrikas, Pasin, Gordev, Juknys, Janusauskas Krasnoveskis, Matulevicius, Buzas, Stempkovskij (Zagurskas, 78 mins.)
Republic of Ireland: Shane Redmond (Stephen Henderson, h/t), Seamus Coleman, Ian Bermingham, Michael Spillane (Darren Dennehy, 89 mins.), Eddie Nolan (capt.), Sean Scannell (Padraig Amond, 67 mins.), Owen Garvan, Stephen Gleeson, Jimmy Ryan (James Berrett, 75 mins.), James O’Shea, Anthony Pilkington (Michael Liddle, 83 mins.).