The Republic of Ireland Under 21 team opened their Intercontinental Cup campaign with a convincing victory against their Malaysia counterparts.

A brace from Michael Collins followed by the clincher from captain Stephen Ward secured victory, while Mohammad Sali pulled one back for the Malaysians.

Malaysia started the match in lively fashion and their key attacking trio of Razak, Sali and Omar combined well in the opening minutes to create several chances.

The Republic’s first chance came after 22 minutes when Keith Treacy’s flick found Collins, who opened the scoring with a header.

In the 26th minute, Collins doubled his and Ireland’s tally after fine interplay with Treacy and Billy Clarke allowed Collins to volley home for his second of the night.

However, Malaysia always looked dangerous and they had a goal disallowed in the 37th minute after Razak was adjudged to have fouled Darren Dennehy in the build-up.

Ward was a constant threat to the Malaysian defence and he latched on to Clarke’s cross to score the Republic’s third on 57 minutes.

Sali bagged a consolation goal for the Malaysians in stoppage time.

Don Givens' side face favourites Nigeria in their next match on Saturday.


REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Shane Redmond (Nottingham Forrest), David Elebert (Hamilton Academics), Eddie Nolan (Blackburn Rovers), Darren Dennehy (Everton FC), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa), James Berrett (Huddersfield), Michael Spillane (Norwich City), Michael Collins (Huddersfield), Keith Treacy (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Billy Clarke (Falkirk)

Substitutions: Stephen Maher (Yeovil Town) for Elebert (69 mins), James Ryan (Shrewsbury) for Barrett (76 mins) and Alan Judge (Blackburn Rovers) for Treacy (84mins).