Republic of Ireland 4-0 Israel

A hat-trick from QPR's Reece Grego-Cox helped the Republic of Ireland Under-21s to a comfortable win over Israel, which sees them maintain their unbeaten run in the 2019 European Championship qualifying campaign.

Everton midfielder Harry Charsley was the other player on target as Ireland remain at the summit of Group Five. 

It was a fantastic performance from start to finish as Noel King named an unchanged team for their outing at Tallaght Stadium, and they were ahead inside the opening 40 seconds.

It was a goal made in Loftus Road as QPR duo forward Ryan Manning found a low cross to Reece Grego-Cox, and he tucked home from six-yards out. 

Derry City forward Ronan Curtis should have made it 2-0 eight minutes later when he bustled through two Israeli defenders on the edge of the area, but directed his effort wide of the left-hand post.

Israel were struggling to deal with the Irish front-three of Manning, Curtis and Grego-Cox, and the latter should have added to his tally in the 20th minute, but he couldn't finish Harry Charsley's low cross goal-wards from eight yards out.

It was Charsley who eventually doubled Ireland's lead as the industrious Grego-Cox somehow dug out a cross from the left, and after captain Josh Cullen touched the ball on, the Everton midfielder tucked home under the keeper after the half-hour mark.

Three minutes later, Ireland went into a three-goal lead.

Israel lost the ball in defence and after a brilliant through-ball to Curtis, the Derry City forward was fouled by the out-stretched keeper, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Grego-Cox took up the responsibility and put Ireland into a commanding lead at the break.

Any worries about a Israeli second-half comeback were quickly extinguished as Grego-Cox claimed his hat-trick. Manning's right-sided corner was only punched away as far as Curtis who saw his shot well saved but Grego-Cox tucked home the rebound in the 50th minute.

Ireland continued to press forward in search of more goals as Manning went close but Ireland secured an impressive victory to stay unbeaten and continue their run at the top of the UEFA U21 European Championship qualifying group five.

Speaking after the victory, a delighted Ireland U21 boss Noel King said: "It was a great performance throughout. We kept our discipline throughout the game and to get the fourth goal in the second-half really clinched the game for us.

Ireland’s Henry Charsley celebrates his goal against Israel

"We've been in all week and a lot of effort went into it, from the players and the staff as well, so it is a great reward for their hard work. We would have liked to have got two wins in the week but to stay unbeaten and to get 10 points out of 12 puts us in a great position."

Republic of Ireland: O'Hara (GK), Kane, Whelan, Donnellan, Sweeney, Cullen (C), Rice (Shaughnessy 77), Charsley (Quigley 80), Grego-Cox (Mulraney 69), Manning, Curtis. 

Israel: Glazer (GK), Meir, Ben David, Ghantus (Gamoun 11, (Nahmias 70)), Bitton, Plakushchenko, Peretz (C), Weissman, Solomon, Nassar, Barshazky.

Referee: Fedayi San (SUI)