Football - Positive start for U16s in UEFA Development Tournament

Republic of Ireland 4-2 Northern Ireland

The Republic of Ireland Men's Under 16s got their UEFA Development Tournament underway with a commanding victory over Northern Ireland in Westport on Sunday afternoon.

The host side nearly got off to a fantastic start after only five minutes, but they were unable to nudge the ball over the line after some sloppy play inside the Northern Ireland box.

After a cagey opening 20 minutes, Connor Farrelly fired his team ahead from a superbly taken free-kick just outside the box.

But the Republic of Ireland youngsters fought back and three minutes later, a sublime pass from Oisin McEntee set up Sean Kennedy (pictured above) for an excellent team goal.

Paul Osam's side continued to threaten the Northern Ireland defence but it remained a goal apiece at the interval.

The home side upped their intensity after the break and it only took Kennedy 13 minutes to register his second goal of the game after he controlled the ball well before rolling it under Gard Thomas and into the net.

Up front, Ciaran Brennan continued to press and after dispossessing his opponents in the 68th minute, he cleverly set up Kennedy for his hat-trick.

Substitute Troy Parrot got a fourth goal for his team with four minutes remaining before Gerard Storey grabbed one back two minutes later to salvage some pride for the visitors.

It was an inspiring performance for the young boys in green who have earned themselves a well-deserved rest tomorrow before they take on Kosovo in Castlebar on Tuesday.

Republic of Ireland: Harry Clarke, Max Murphy (Conor O'Reilly 76), Oisin McEntee, Andrew Spain, Kevin O'Reilly (Aaron Mulligan 76), Jason Knight, Jack Moylan (Ross Tierney 59), Sean Kennedy (Conor Grant 76), Barry Coffey, Sean Mahon (Matt Everitt 68), Ciaran Brennan (Troy Parrot 68).

Northern Ireland: Gard Thomas, Peter Bell (John McGivern 63), Sam McClelland, Dean Corrigan, Michael Glynn (Harry Anderson 74), Aidan Steele (Gerard Steele 51), Ethan Galbraith, Brandon Bermingham (Matthew Willis 74), Connor Farrelly (Matthew Smith 74), Aaron Brown (Peter McKiernan 40), Callum Ferris (Naseem Ouldhamlet 63).

Referee: Tony Cosgrove.