Crawford’s Ireland claim the spoils against Luxembourg in Tallaght
The Republic of Ireland U21s extended their unbeaten start to Group F of the European Qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Luxembourg at Tallaght Stadium this evening.
Courtesy of goals from Joshua Kayode and skipper Conor Coventry, the hosts – managed by Tallaght native Jim Crawford – secured the spoils in convincing style.
The first U21 international to be played in front of a crowd on these shores since November 2019 – when senior boss Stephen Kenny was still in charge of the side – Ireland were hoping to establish an early platform.
They got their wish on 18 minutes, when the visiting team’s defence was unlocked in clinical fashion. From an elaborate cross field pass by Coventry, Tyreik Wright was released down the left-wing.
The Cork native subsequently delivered a cross into the area, where Kayode was on hand to flick home at an acute angle.
This proved to be the only shot on target in the opening period, but it was enough to keep Ireland in the ascendancy at the interval.
The visitors bounced back from a similar deficit to secure a 1-1 draw a little over four weeks earlier and this motivated Ireland to search for a second goal on the resumption. Liam Kerrigan almost got on the end of a Wright through-ball in the 47th-minute, but Luxembourg netminder Lucas Fox was alert to the danger.
The lively Kerrigan also fired off-target from a Joel Bagan cross, before Ireland finally doubled their advantage just past the hour mark. Currently plying his trade in the second-tier of Irish soccer with UCD, Kerrigan was upended in the area by opposition defender Franz Sinner at the end of a lung-bursting run.
Given Wright had been denied by Fox from the spot in their previous meeting with Luxembourg, it was decided that Coventry would be the one entrusted with penalty duties on this occasion. He made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Fox the wrong way to leave Ireland on the brink of a much-needed win.
The busy Fox thwarted Conor Noss in the closing minutes of the game, but the final outcome has been placed beyond doubt by this point.