Malta 0-6 Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland U17 side produced a comprehensive display to beat Malta 6-0 in Lohja, Finland to seal their qualification for the UEFA U17 Championships Elite Qualifying Round.
Victory against the Maltese coupled with Finland being held to a draw by Sweden means that Tom Mohan's side are guaranteed one of the two automatic qualifying sports to ensure their place in the next phase with a game to spare. The Irish face Sweden in their final group game on Tuesday.
A hat-trick from Stevenage FC's Michael Cregan helped secured the three points Tom Mohan's side. The former St Kevin's Boys striker opened the scoring in the 28th minute after finishing at the near post.
West Ham United's Declan Rice made it 2-0 five minutes later when he turned the ball home from a free-kick routine then found the net once more in the 39th minute after a corner kick to give the Irish a commanding lead at the break.
Crystal Palace midfielder Kian Flanagan put Ireland 4-0 up in the 53rd minute after connecting with a ball in from Rice.
Cregan scored from the penalty spot to grab Ireland's fifth goal on the hour after he had been fouled by Jeremy Busuttil. The striker completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute when he beat the keeper one on one.
"We've done our business and it's nice when sometimes other results do you a favour. You take them when they come," said Mohan.
"The win against Finland set us up. They showed against Sweden that they are a very good side and are building towards hosting the U19s in two years time. Malta were stubborn until the opening goal. We were dominant but were a bit anxious until we had the first few goals.
"I'm absolutely delighted with the players for their efforts and professionalism and the staff who all put in massive work. This was all a group effort.
"We've done so well until now and you want to finish it off on a high with a good performance against Sweden. We have to look at the preparation for the Elite Phase straight away and it'll be an opportunity for all the players to show that they can perform."