Ireland v Andorra: Cork City's Mark O'Mahony hits the net for U17s

Colin O'Brien's side were captained in Turner's Cross by Cathal Heffernan in an impressive UEFA European Championship qualifier display
Ireland v Andorra: Cork City's Mark O'Mahony hits the net for U17s

Mark O'Mahony celebrates with teammates after scoring. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland 5 Andorra 0

Cork native Mark O’Mahony’s second-half goal helped the Republic of Ireland make a perfect start to their UEFA U17 European Championship qualifying campaign as they defeated Andorra 5-0 at Turner’s Cross.

His finish, in between those from Justin Ferizaj, Kevin Zefi, Sam Curtis, and Rocca Vata were enough to send Ireland top of Group 5 following Poland’s draw with North Macedonia earlier in the day.

Cork City pair Franco Umeh and Cathal Heffernan, who captained the side, were selected to start by manager Colin O’Brien while their clubmates Liam Murray and O’Mahony were introduced from the substitutes bench in the second half.

The Boys in Green dominated from the first whistle and they were well deserving of their lead when it finally came in the 14th minute thanks to a stunning goal from Ferizaj.

 Opening goalscorer Justin Ferizaj and teammates celebrate his goal for the Republic of Ireland U17s at Turner's Cross. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Opening goalscorer Justin Ferizaj and teammates celebrate his goal for the Republic of Ireland U17s at Turner's Cross. Picture: Larry Cummins.

The Shamrock Rovers man skipped past numerous opponents before coolly slotting the ball just past the reach of the goalkeeper and into the far bottom right corner.

The Republic had numerous opportunities to add to their advantage and they were unfortunate not to do so before the break as Luke O’Brien headed Umeh’s cross straight at the keeper from a few yards before scrambling the rebound against the post.

O’Mahony was introduced following a tame start to the second half and he wasted no time in making his mark as within minutes of coming on he saw his shot from Vata’s cross deflect into the back of the Shed End net.

That opened the floodgates; Zefi soon added a third when he drilled the ball inside the far post while Sam Curtis then tapped in number four and Vata blasted into the far corner from distance for number five to complete a good night’s work for Ireland’s youngsters.

 Republic of Ireland captain Cathal Heffernan in action in defence. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Republic of Ireland captain Cathal Heffernan in action in defence. Picture: Larry Cummins.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Conor Walsh; Sam Curtis, Cathal Heffernan, Luke Browne, Luke O’Brien; Rocco Vata, James McManus, Justin Ferizaj; Franco Umeh, Caden McLoughlin, Kevin Zefi.

Subs: Mark O’Mahony for McLoughlin (61), Alex Nolan for Umeh (67), Liam Murray for Vata (76), Darius Lipsiuc for Ferizaj (76).

ANDORRA: Diego Mendes Meireles; Marc Rodriguez Gelabert, Gerard Sanchez Navarro, Guillem Acosta Farre, Ricardo Teixeira Pinto; Ivan Rodriguez Dominguez, Gerard Estrada Quinquilla, Marc Torne Da Silva, Marcel Carrau Rodriguez; Jan Guma Cerqueda, Bernat Arderiu Vilanova.

Subs: Rodrigo Alexandre Graca De Almeida for Estrada Quinquilla (ht), Pol Foix De La Rosa for Torne Da Silva (62), Adria Balastegui Martinez for Carrau Rodriguez (62), Ramon Colillas Baiget for Guma Cerqueda (71), Joan Jimenez Ferro for Arderiu Vilanova (78).

Referee: Joonas Jaanovits (Estonia).

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