REPORT | Ireland MU17 4-0 Armenia MU17

REPORT | Ireland MU17 4-0 Armenia MU17

The Republic of Ireland Men’s Under-17s made it the perfect start to their European Championship qualification campaign with a 4-0 win over Armenia in Norway on Thursday.

Second-half goals from Waterford’s Romeo Akachukwu, St.Patrick’s Athletic’s Mason Melia, Shamrock Rovers’ Naj Razi and Crystal Palace’s Jake Grante were enough to produce a convincing win for the young Boys in Green.Before the game Head Coach Colin O’Brien had spoken of the importance of starting off the qualifiers in the right manner and that was certainly the case as Ireland dominated the first half but found their opponents tough to break down.Luke Kehir stung the hands of Hayk Ghazaryan in the Armenian goal on 25 minutes and he would come close again 15 minutes later when his overhead kick just went wide of the post.Still Ireland came forward and excellent individual skill by Shaun Wade saw him beat the defender get to the by-line and cross for Akachukwu whose outside-of-the-foot effort just couldn’t curl inside the post.But the Waterford man would soon make-up for his miss early in the second half. Patient play by Ireland from the back freed up Cory O’Sullivan on the left. He got to the by-line and drilled a cross across goal and Akachukwu timed his run perfectly to tap home for the opening goal.

Ireland went on the hunt for a second and they found it thanks to Melia in the 78th minute. Ten minutes after being introduced as a substitute, he rose highest to meet a Razi corner with a powerful header.

Minutes later it was 3-0 to Ireland. Ike Orazi was brought down for a penalty and Razi stepped up to fire home. Defender Grante completed the scoring in the 86th minute when he reacted fastest when Freddie Turley’s cross was palmed into Grante's path for an easy finish.Next for O’Brien’s side is Belarus on Sunday where Ireland have an opportunity of securing qualification to the Elite Round.Republic of Ireland: Healy, Babb, Turley, Grante, O’Sullivan, Kehir, Akachukwu (Dodd, 85), McGrath, Razi (Mooney, 85), Wade (Orazi,70) , Okosun (Melia, 70)Armenia: H. Ghazaryan, D. Ghazaryan, Petrosyan, P. Manukyan, Hovhannisyan, Simonyan (Ghiasyan, 59) Shaghoyan (Martoyan,76), Gigollan, Mikhayelyan, Aleksanyan (Vanoyan, 76), A. Manukyan (Harutyunyan, 59)Referee: Miloš Bosyković (Montenegro)UEFA European Under-17 Championship Round One fixtures/results (all kick-offs are Irish time) Thursday, October 20 | Republic of Ireland MU17 4-0 Armenia MU17Sunday, October 23 | Republic of Ireland MU17 v Belarus MU17, Fredrikstad, Norway, KO 1pm  Live on LOITV)Wednesday, October 26 | Norway MU17 v Republic of Ireland MU17, Sarpsborg Stadium, Norway, KO 4pm (Live on LOITV)