Football | First international goals for Ireland trio in New Zealand win

Derrick Williams, Sean Maguire and Callum Robinson scored their first international goals as the Republic of Ireland came from behind to beat New Zealand 2-1 at the Aviva Stadium.

Williams headed Ireland level on the stroke of half time, and man of the match Maguire scored his first international goal with a superb finish early in the second half, with debutant Troy Parrott registering an assist.

Substitute Robinson then notched the hosts’ third goal in the 75th minute with a good header from teenager Lee O’Connor’s sublime cross.

The Kiwis had taken the lead on the half hour mark through debutant Callum McCowatt, who tapped in Liberato Cacade’s low cross.

Mick McCarthy fielded an experimental side in Dublin ahead of the visit of Denmark on Monday night, with a disappointing crowd of 18,728 turning up for the international friendly.

The best chances of the opening half hour fell to the home side, with Jack Byrne and Robbie Brady lively in the opening exchanges.

Josh Cullen also impressed in the middle, with one sequence of play in the 12th minute highlighting what the what the 23-year-old can bring to the Irish midfield.

The Charlton Athletic loanee received a ball under pressure in the middle of the park. Rather than take an easy option, Cullen twisted and turned before measuring a superb cross-field pass out to Lee O’Connor wide on the right.

One of Ireland’s first chances was carved out by Alan Browne, who produced a clever Cruyff turn to escape down the right channel, before sending a dangerous cross into the box.

Blackburn left back Williams arrived in the box, but got his shot all wrong, with the ball going well wide of the target.

Parrott – perhaps over-eager – put in a poor tackle on Kiwi captain Winston Reid in the 15th minute, catching the West Ham defender clumsily as Reid dribbled the ball out from defence.

The Spurs teenager then went down in the box two minutes later after Robbie Brady’s pass into the area, but the referee remained unmoved.

Maguire had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 21st minute.

The Preston striker raced through on goal following O’Connor’s well-measured, curling pass down the touchline, and did well to hold off the advances of a New Zealand defender.

Maguire tried to slot the ball under Stefan Marinovic, but the Kiwis ‘keeper made himself big and saved with his feet to deny Maguire his first international goal.

The 25-year-old forward then had a chance to head Ireland into the lead, but his glancing effort was narrowly wide of the far post from Brady’s right-footed cross.

Despite Ireland’s dominance, it was the visitors who took the lead on the half hour mark at the Aviva.

McCowatt side-footed Liberato Cacade’s low cross past O’Hara to score his first international goal on his debut, after good work from Chris Wood and
Ryan Thomas in the buildup.

Williams flashed another shot well wide in the 39th minute as the Boys in Green went in search of an equalizer before the interval.

Cullen whipped an excellent cross into the box in the 44th minute, which found Brady at the back post.

The Burnley midfielder directed his header back across goal, forcing Marinovic to punch clear under pressure in the box.

A minute later, Ireland were level.

Williams rose highest in the box to power Brady’s corner into the bottom corner with an accurate header with virtually the last action of the first half.

It took McCarthy’s men just seven minutes to take the lead after the restart.

McCowatt was caught dithering on the ball just outside his own box, with Parrott doing well to dispossess the New Zealand goalscorer.

The 17-year-old teed up Maguire on the edge of the box, and the former Cork City striker bent a wonderful strike into the top corner to make it 2-1.

It was Maguire’s first international goal, accompanied by an assist for Parrott on his senior debut.

Callum O’Dowda replaced Williams soon afterwards as Ireland continued to dominate proceedings in Dublin.

Parrott almost snatched a debut goal in the 58th minute after Byrne capitalized on some poor New Zealand defending.

Byrne collected a poor clearance and played the ball to Maguire, who slipped Parrott through on goal with a deft through ball. Marinovic came off his line quickly and produced a good save to stop Parrott’s low left-footed effort.

Byrne and Parrott were replaced by Robinson and Alan Judge five minutes later as McCarthy offered the incoming duo a chance to impress.

Conor Hourihane was introduced a few minutes later, coming on for the impressive Browne, who showed plenty of good touches in midfield.

Robinson had a chance to extend Ireland’s lead in the 72nd minute when he was played in down the left channel by former Preston teammate Maguire, but his effort was diverted behind for a corner by Marinovic.

Maguire was replaced before the resulting corner, with Luton Town striker James Collins replacing the 25-year-old.

Robinson grabbed his first international goal soon afterwards, heading home O’Connor’s sublime cross from the right wing from eight yards.

His goal meant that teenage duo Parrott and O’Connor ended their senior debuts with an assist apiece following their promotion from Stephen Kenny’s U21 side.

Robinson nearly doubled his tally in the 79th minute, forcing Marinovic to tip his long-distance effort over the crossbar for a corner.

Collins had a big chance to score Ireland’s fourth with six minutes remaining after Robinson wrestled control of the ball in the Kiwis half and sent the striker through, but Marinovic made yet another good save to deny the striker.

Elliot Collier forced O’Hara into a good save late on as the visitors searched for a consolation goal.

Ireland saw the game out comfortably to register a deserved win in Dublin.

There were plenty of positives for the Boys in Green, with Williams, Maguire and Robinson all recording their first international goals, and Parrott and O’Connor chipping in with assists.

McCarthy will field a much-changed side against the Danes on Monday, but the likes of Maguire and Robinson may have done enough to convince the Ireland manager that they deserve to be involved.

All eyes turn to Denmark.