Two second half goals scored by strikers Anthony Stokes and Andrew Keogh gave Ireland victory in Mamer tonight.
Ireland dominated the game throughout but the host nation’s defensive tactics kept them at bay up until the second half.
However, once the Irish found the breakthrough through a spectacular goal from Anthony Stokes two minutes after the break, they side moved up a gear and added a deserved second on 67 minutes when Andrew Keogh slotted home a penalty kick after he was taken down inside the area by the ‘keeper.
Stokes’ goal was the result of a splendid flowing move from Ireland that included 15 passes before the 18-year old Falkirk striker struck a superb volley into the net.
His strike partner, Andrew Keogh, worked hard in the attack and caused the home defence enormous difficulties with his power and pace. He escaped the defence midway through the second half but was brought to the ground by the Luxembourg ‘keeper as he was about to score. The Scunthorpe United striker took the resultant spot-kick himself and coolly dispatched it to the net.
Manager Don Givens is building for the future, with his next scheduled competitive fixture not due until August 2007, and he was pleased with how his new-look team played.
“It wasn’t an easy task to break down the Luxembourg team who were set up with nearly all their men behind the ball. Our lads were disciplined enough to be patient and I knew that when they scored the first goal, we would win the game comfortably.”
“For a new group of players, I was very satisfied with their performance. As with any new group, especially for the younger players, they have a bit to learn but that’s natural at this stage of their career.”
Ireland: Darren Quigley (UCD); Tony Kane (Blackburn Rovers); Joseph O'Cearuill ( (Arsenal) Richard Keogh (Bristol City) (Captain); Darren Stapleton Unattached
Patrick Cregg(Falkirk); Ian Morris (Scunthorpe United) ;Gary Dicker (UCD) ;
John Paul Kelly(Bohemians) ;Andrew Keogh (Scunthorpe United) ;Anthony Stokes (Falkirk)
Darren Randolph (Charlton Athletic) for Quigley, Conor Powell (Bohemians) for Stapleton, James Hand (Huddersfield Town) for Morris and Marc Wilson (Portsmouth) for Dicker – All half-time.
Stephen O’Halloran (Aston Villa) for R. Keogh – 55 mins.