Derry City conveyor belt of international talent rolls on with Hale brothers' debut strikes
The Derry conveyor belt of international football talent rolled on on Thursday with Belfast brothers Rory and Ronan Hale both scoring on their debuts for the Republic of Ireland U21s against Iceland in Tallaght.
The Derry City influence was further enriched by two Ronan Curtis assists in the 3 -1 victory ahead of Tuesday's UEFA U21 European Championship qualifier against Azerbaijan.
All of which was overseen by one-time 'Candystripes' manager, Noel King, who famously led the DCFC trio's legendary forerunners, Aleksandar KristiÄ‡, and Owen Da Gama, et al, to promotion to the League of Ireland Premier Division for the first time ever in 1986-87.
Said King: "We're really happy with the performance. We scored some great goals and seeing how many changes we made, it shows a great strength and depth in the squad.
"We let them come on to us during the second-half but I thought we managed it well and deserved the victory. It is great preparation for us going into Tuesday's game. We need to perform to those levels once again to get an important three points."
It only took 14 seconds for Ireland to score the opener. Straight from kick-off, Joe Quigley knocked the ball down for Curtis who laid the ball on for clubmate Rory Hale, to slide home.
Ireland continued to dominate the first-half as Josh Cullen fired over from 20 yards out and Ryan Manning saw his low 25-yard free-kick palmed away just past the half-hour.
Five minutes from the break, Manning doubled Ireland's lead. The QPR man won the ball back and played a neat one-two with Curtis to fire home over the keeper.
Iceland pulled a goal back in the 67th minute through Stefan Ljubicic who produced a curling finish off-the-post as Ireland made a number of changes during the second-half. Jake Doyle Hayes, James Dunne and Ronan Hale all came on for their U21 debut ahead of Tuesday's qualifier.
In the final minute, the latter marked his debut with a goal. The Icelandic keeper Aron Fridriksson could only clear the ball as far as Hale who found the net from 40 yards with a spectacular finish.
Republic of Ireland: Liam Bossin (GK), Liam Kinsella, Danny Kane (Jake Doyle Hayes 85), Ryan Sweeney (Ryan Delaney 46) Corey Whelan (James Dunne 72), Josh Cullen, Connor Dimaio, Joe Quigley (Ronan Hale 68), Ryan Manning, Ronan Curtis, Rory Hale (Olamide Shodipo 46).
Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK).