10.10.2000 at 19:00 Buckley Park - Kilkenny
Referee: Srecko Kandare (SVN)
European Qualifier / PROG-match
Ireland 1 Estonia 0
Under-pressure Ireland u21 boss Don Givens picked up his first points of the current European Championship qualifying campaign - and just his second win in eight games in charge - when Ireland beat Estonia in Kilkenny last night.
It took a penalty by skipper Barry Quinn twelve minutes into the second half to seal the points, as Ireland enjoyed 90% possession but again demonstrated a worrying lack of penetration.
It was in response to this lack of punch up front that Don Givens decided on his current 4-3-3 formation. But, if anything, that shape only exacerbated the lack of firepower.
With Michael Reddy and Graham Barrett out wide, Gary Doherty found himself isolated in the middle when the crosses came in - and though the Tottenham striker got a touch on everything that came his way, with just three midfielders in the team there was nobody coming through to feed off him.
Estonia set out there stall early, getting ten or even eleven behind the ball at the first sniff of danger. Ireland played it backwards and forwards across the back four, but the openings didn't materialise.
Irish midfielders Barry Quinn, Damien Lynch and Jamsie O'Connor all played well individually but didn't gel. After heavy rain, the beautiful Buckley Park pitch cut up like a ploughed field and that didn't help.
The abundantly talented Irish players were reduced to making individual attempts to break through the packed Estonian rearguard.
Reddy in particular - on what was something of a homecoming for the former Kilkenny City star - used his speed to get to the byline time and again, first on the left and then on the right.
It was one of his crosses that led to Ireland's best chance of the first half, but Barry Quinn sidefooted wide of a yawning goal.
It was another run by Reddy that produced the goal. This time, the Sunderland speed merchant cut inside and beat two defenders before being chopped down in the box. Quinn's penalty, low to the 'keeper's left, was emphatic.
A carbon-copy Reddy incision, this time from the left wing, almost yielded another spot kick midway through the second half. This time, though, the Slovenian referee pointed to a spot just outside the box.
Barry Quinn again stepped up and, with Estonia expecting a cross, aimed instead for the top far corner of the goal - but his effort curled inches wide.
Gary Doherty - a Niall Quinn in the making - almost got his name on the scoresheet in the dying minutes when he dived full-length at yet another Reddy cross but just failed to make contact.
Ireland: Joe Murphy (Tranmere), Colin Healy (Celtic), John O'Shea (Manchester United), Jason Gavin (Middlesbrough), Clive Clarke (Stoke City), James O'Connor (Stoke City), Barry Quinn (Coventry City) capt, Damien Lynch (Leeds United), Graham Barrett (Arsenal), Michael Reddy (Sunderland), Gary Doherty (Tottenham).
Subs: Richie Partridge (Liverpool) for Barrett 71; John McGrath (Aston Villa) for Clarke 80; Steve Hunt (Crystal Palace) for Doherty 90.
Estonia: Kisselijov, Raio, Parnpuz, Vink, Kosh, Zohhovaiko, Kosemets, Saharov, Lindpere, Kirillov, Titenberg.
Subs: Kahr for Kosh 55; Jaager for Titenberg 60, Maasing for Zohhovaiko 69.
Referee: S. Kandare (Slovenia)