Republic of Ireland U21 midfielder Conor Coventry hailed the side's performance in their goalless draw with top seeds Italy in Tallaght Stadium tonight but admitted his disappointment they couldn't claim the win.
Stephen Kenny's charges maintained their unbeaten record after a spirited and positive display against a highly rated Italian outfit.
Coventry was one of the more impressive players on the night and the West Ham midfielder was adamant that the hosts had dominated the encounter.
"I think we were the better team," he told RTÉ Sport afterwards.
"The first 20 we were quiet and after that we started to control the game. The second half, we were way better than them and just couldn't apply the finishing touch at times.
"Just show the talent in this team to play an Italian team off the park. Bit disappointed we didn't get the win but proud of the performance.
"I think we made the better chances. Caoimhin made a couple of brilliant saves but I don't think they hurt us too much. The two centre backs, Conor (Masterson) and Dara (O'Shea) were brilliant, the two full backs brilliant as well. We were solid all night and I think we created chances."
It was a rambunctious affair in which cards flowed freely from an early stage and the game's most contentious moment arrived around the hour mark when two of the most high profile figures on the pitch - Troy Parrott and Moise Kean - were shown red cards for a bizarre exchange in midfield.
The Italian, a half-time substitute was shown a straight red card for pushing Parrott in the face. The crowd lustily welcomed the red card but were booing mere seconds later when the Irish striker was issued with a second yellow card for an innocuous enough push in the lead-up.
The incident means Parrott will miss Ireland's away game against Iceland on Sunday. Kenny will also be without his midfield general Jayson Molumby, who collected his second yellow card of the campaign in the first half.
Coventry was baffled at Parrott's ejection from the game.
"The ref's made the wrong decision. Troy has not done anything really. He's been sent off for getting pushed in the face. I'd sympathise with him because it's not the type of lad he is. But that's football sometimes and we've done well to dig in and dominate the game still.
"It's onto Iceland now. In a sense, even though we played brilliantly, the game is gone now and we have to look on to the next and three points in Iceland will put us in a great position."
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