By Jamie Moore
The Republic of Ireland Under 15s produced an outstanding display to beat Norway 4-1 in their opening game at an invitational tournament in Prague on Tuesday.
Belvedere's Brandon Holt and Alex Dunne started while Troy Parrott, who had been sick on Monday, came on in the second half.
Ireland will play Czech Republic on Thursday.
Report below thanks to FAI.IE
Victory secured over Norway in Prague tournament
Republic of Ireland U15 4-1 Norway
Jason Donohue’s side bagged four first-half goals to take control of the tie and will go into Thursday’s deciding game against the Czech Republic hosts, who beat the Norwegians 4-3 last Sunday.
Seamus Keogh had Ireland’s first attempt on goal in the 10th minute but it was not long before Ireland went 1-0 up through Sean Kennedy when he found the net with a low strike in the 13th minute.
Keogh had a header saved two minutes later before Kennedy shot narrowly wide in the 18th minute. Norway had an attempt on goal in the 20th minute when Lars Christian Moudestad had a shot from distance held by Ireland keeper Jimmy Corcoran.
Kennedy added a second in the 25th minute when he was played through by Matthew Everitt and poked past the advancing keeper.
Ronan McKinley increased the Irish lead in the 36th minute when he dispossessed keeper Vegard Storsve and turned the ball home into an empty net.
Three minutes later Everitt marked his debut with a goal after McKinley’s initial effort came back off the Norwegian crossbar.
Everitt had another effort saved five minutes into the second half then Irish keeper Corcoran had a couple of stops before Simon Bakken grabbed a consolation goal with a low strike in the last minute.
Pic: Brandon, Troy & Alex
"Our first half performance was exceptionally good. We played really well and scored at good times. We had a good defensive shape and scored some good goals," said Ireland Head Coach Jason Donohue to FAI.IE
"The Norwegian coach couldn't believe how well we played and said it was like men against boys at times in the first half which is a great compliment to the players.
"In the second half, they pressed us really well and forced us to go a bit longer. We conceded in injury time and it shows the character of the lads how disappointed they were to concede that goal.
"We looked a threat every time we went forward in the first half. Matt Everitt had an exceptional debut. Sean Kennedy and Ronan McKinley also produced some excellent moments.
"I’m extremely pleased for the boys to get a win after a couple of draws. They have been improving and the hard work is paying off.
"They looked a really good team today and now it'll be a different test against the Czechs who'll have had four days rest by the time Thursday game comes around."
Republic of Ireland: Corcoran; Dunne (O’Callaghan 71), Sobowale, Funge, Holt; Healy (McEvoy 62), Keogh, McKinley (Parrott 62); Kennedy (Guirgi 71), Everitt (Furlong 65), Okoflex.
RESULTS & FIXTURES
U15 Invitational Tournament
Tuesday, April 18: Republic of Ireland 4-1 Norway, Artima, Prague
Thursday, April 20: Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland, Brozany nad Ohří (KO 15.30)