Football | Parrott nets winner on U21 Ireland debut

Troy Parrott scored the winner on his U21 debut as the Republic of Ireland beat Armenia 1-0 at Tallaght Stadium.

The 17-year-old converted Aaron Connolly’s pinpoint cross to make it two wins from two for Stephen Kenny’s side in the European Qualifiers.

Ireland were fully deserving of their victory; creating several big chances and controlling the game from the outset.

Kenny’s team started well in front of the crowd of 3,658 in Dublin, with defender Conor Masterson heading Gavin Kilkenny’s cross wide in the fifth minute.

Adam Idah had a good chance to fire the hosts ahead in the 16th minute after good work from Connolly on the left, but Armenia ‘keeper Sevak Aslanyan acted sharply to smother the ball at the Norwich striker’s feet.

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was then forced into a save by Vahan Bichakhchyan at the other end.

Jayson Molumby stung Aslanyan’s palms from distance, before Parrott saw an effort deflected behind for a corner.

The breakthrough came in the 31st minute.

Connolly picked the ball up on the left touchline just inside the Armenia half, and showed great pace and strength to drive down the wing, cut inside and pull a low cross back for Parrott.

The teenage forward made no mistake from 12 yards, coolly side-footing the ball into the bottom corner to give Ireland the lead.

Connolly had a chance to make it 2-0 before the break, but the home side ended the half with a one-goal advantage.

Armenia created the first meaningful chance of the second half, but Rudik Mkrtchyan saw his effort go wide after a strong run.

Parrott then struck the post with an effort in the 57th minute, with his strike partner Idah firing the rebound over the bar.

Danny Mandroiu and Zachary Elbouzedi were introduced for Kilkenny (also making his debut) and Idah as the half wore on.

Parrott – who was recently named in Spurs’ Champions League squad for the season – forced Aslanyan into another save as Ireland tried to put the game beyond doubt, but Armenia rarely looked like snatching an away point.

Ireland saw out the game with relative comfort, and Kenny’s attention will now turn to next week’s trip to Sweden.

Republic of Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK), Lee O’Connor, Darragh Leahy, Conor Masterson, Dara O’Shea, Conor Coventry, Jayson Molumby (C), Adam Idah (Dan Mandroiu 57), Troy Parrott, Aaron Connolly (Jason Knight 89) , Gavin Kilkenny (Zack Elbouzedi 57).

Armenia: Sevak Aslanyan (GK), Hovhannes Nazaryan, Albert Khachumyan, Edgar Grigoryan, Karen Melkonyan, Armen Nahapetyan (Arlen Tsaturyan 82), Vahan Bichakhchyan (Aram Khamoyan 76), Artur Nadiryan (C) (Erik Vardanyan 82), German Kurbashyan (Edgar Movsesyan 69), Rudik Mkrtchyan, Erjanik Ghubasaryan.