Malta 0 Republic of Ireland 5
The Republic of Ireland Under-16s were in fine goal-scoring form on Tuesday as they put five past Easter tournament hosts, Malta, in Valetta.
Ireland’s final game against Turkey will serve as the four-nation tournament decider, as both nations have recorded wins over Italy and Malta.
Vincent Butler’s side followed up their 1-0 success over Italy on Sunday with another solid display based on a sound defensive unit and plenty of sparkle in midfield and attack.
Tim Pilkington took just four minutes to score on his debut for Ireland with a clever finish. The New Zealand-born striker plays for German team SC Freiburg and recently declared for Ireland though the parentage rule.
Ireland should have had more of a cushion at the break but spurned many chances to add to their lead.
It took a while for them to break down the Maltese in the second half and eventually grabbed their second from the penalty spot – Shane Murray of Arklow Town converting.
Selcuk Tidim then netted for the fifth International match in a row with a sublime long-range effort before Oliver Kelly and Ryan Connolly completed the scoring.
Ireland manager Vincent Butler was glad to see his team record back to back victories.
“We created lots of chances and, on another day, might have had more goals to show for our efforts.
“These were two good wins against Italy and Malta. Tomorrow’s match against Turkey will be difficult; they have already beaten us twice on their home pitch earlier in the season and have a lot of quality in their side.”
Ireland: Aaron McCarey (Monaghan United), Leigh Swords (Belvedere), Danny Fitzsimons (Millwall), John Egan (Greenwood), Mark O'Brien (Cherry Orchard), Anthony Bolger (St. Kevin’s Boys), Eoin Wearan (St. Kevin’s Boys), Stephen McDonnell (Quay Celtic), Ryan Connolly (Derby County), Tim Pilkington (SC Freiburg), Selcuk Tidim (FC St.Pauli).
Substitutes: Sean Stewart (St. Kevin’s Boys) and Shane Murray (Arklow Town) for Bolger and Wearan (45 mins), Danny Joyce (Belvedere) and Oliver Kelly (Reading) for McDonnell and Swords (50 mins), Sean Skelly (Belvedere) for Pilkington (65 mins) and Anthony O'Connor (Kilreen Celtic) for O’Brien (75 mins)