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Senior star's double helps Ireland's young guns to dream start at Euros Elite Round

Heather Payne scored twice as Dave Connell’s U19s beat Hungary 4-0 in Spain.

IRELAND’S YOUNG GUNS had an extremely bright start to their Women’s U19 European Championships Elite Round this afternoon, beating Hungary 4-0 in their opener.

heather Heather Payne was on target twice in Spain. Source: FAIreland Twitter.

Senior international Heather Payne bagged a brace, while another from Carla McManus and a Hungary own-goal set Dave Connell’s side up nicely in Spain as they look to qualify for July’s finals in Scotland.

Today’s encounter was played in Villagarcia de Arousa, which is in the north-west of the country, and comes as a really encouraging start for the Girls In Green.

Captained by Brighton youngster Megan Mackey, Ireland were 2-0 up by half time.

On 31 minutes, Bristol City’s Payne broke the deadlock from the penalty spot as she converted the chance she earned after being taken down in the box, while a fantastic cross from Lucia Lobato led to Hungary’s Rahel Varadi putting the ball into her own net six minutes later.

Ireland continued to dominate in the second period, and 19-year-old Payne soon had her second of the day with 68 minutes on the clock. McManus sealed the deal in the dying minutes, after taking advantage of a mistake in the Hungarian defence.

Next up for Connell’s outfit is Serbia on Saturday (kick-off 12pm Irish time), while they face hosts and reigning champions Spain next Tuesday (5.30pm Irish time).

Three wins from three last year saw them coast into the Elite Round, so the dream is well and truly alive with serious momentum behind this team.

ireland tweet Source: FAIreland Twitter.

Their male counterparts qualified for their U19 European Championships with a game to spare last month, becoming the first side to seal their spot in this summer’s tournament in Armenia.

IRELAND: Kelly; Baynes (Slattery 64), McGovern, Doyle, Lobato; Mackey, Ruddy (McManus 80), Reynolds, Payne; McEvoy (Singleton 80), O’Driscoll (Brady 54).

Republic of Ireland Women’s Under-19 squad

Goalkeepers: Erica Turner (DLR Waves), Rachael Kelly (Shelbourne)
Defenders: Sadhbh Doyle (Galway WFC), Roisin McGovern (DLR Waves), Rachel Baynes (Galway WFC),  Aoife Slattery (Wexford Youths), Leah Brady (Galway WFC), Katie Burdis (DLR Waves)
Midfielders: Lucia Lobato (Galway WFC), Megan Mackey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Chloe Singleton (Galway WFC), Tiegan Ruddy (CCSU), Sinead Donavan (Galway WFC)
Forwards: Alannah McEvoy (Shelbourne), Carla McManus (Kilkenny United), Kelly Brady (World Class), Heather Payne (Bristol City), Niamh Reynolds (Reading), Michelle O’Driscoll (Daytona State University), Keelin McEntee (DLR Waves).

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Emma Duffy

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