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long wait Youngsters come to Ireland's rescue to end miserable winless run


Jason Knight got on the score-sheet in the 4-1 win over Andorra. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Jason Knight got on the score-sheet in the 4-1 win over Andorra. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Jason Knight got on the score-sheet in the 4-1 win over Andorra. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Here are five things we learned from Ireland's 4-1 win over Andorra.

Kenny owes Parrott

Should Stephen Kenny eventually be the success we all want him to be as Irish manager, he will look back on the 53rd minute of this game as his nadir. Marc Vales had just given Andorra the lead. Had the part-timers held the advantage to the end of the match, there would have been no way back for Kenny. Back-to-back losses to Luxembourg and Andorra will do that for any international football manager. Stephen owes Troy Parrott big-time.

Troy comes of age

Speaking of Troy, he came of age in Andorra. The lad from Dublin’s inner-city seems to have been on the fringe of the Irish team forever – but he is still only 19 years of age and his last 18 months at club level have been blighted by injuries. But Troy is big, he’s strong, he’s quick, he’s direct and the first goal in Andorra showed the cool nerve of a natural finisher. If Irish football is to prosper over the next 15 years, Parrott and his goals will surely be at the heart of it.

Knight has a bright future

Jason Knight could be another of the building blocks we have for the future. Thankfully, Derby County did not fall into League One of the last day of the English season and he will be at least a Championship player come August. Played out of position here on the right, the midfielder still wanted to get on the ball, to move it forward, to penetrate. Knight has been one of the few shining lights of a dim 2020/21 for Irish football.

Perspiration but no inspiration

But Irish football is still badly short of the class, creative, natural midfielder that you need to break down an international defence. We have nobody of the style of a Ray Houghton or Ronnie Whelan of old, never mind the sheer quality of a Liam Brady or Johnny Giles. There was no lack of perspiration from the Irish midfield against Andorra, we just lacked inspiration. It is something that is going to haunt Kenny for his term as the boss.

McClean puts in a shift

James McClean ships an awful lot of criticism at times, mainly for not apologising about the recent history of his native Derry. But James doesn’t half put in a shift for Ireland. At the end of a long club season, he could easily have opted out of these games against Andorra and Hungary. But no, he was present and correct in this one, running up and down the Irish left-wing for 85 minutes. You suspect that if Stephen Kenny had asked him to run up and down one of the adjacent Pyrenean peaks, McClean would have willingly obliged.

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