Celtic loanees Bosun Lawal and Johnny Kenny were both involved as the Ireland u21’s scored a late winner to beat Turkey 3-2 at Turners Cross.
Both Lawal and Kenny impressed in what was a deserved win for the home side. Ireland u21 manager Jim Crawford opted for a more combative side to start the game, starting in a 5-4-1 with Lawal at the centre of the back three and Kenny leading the line.
Attacking wingers such as Celtic B team player Rocco Vata were left out in favour of starting with three in the midfield with view to flooding the centre of the park with numbers.
Ireland started the game well but would fall behind from a Turkish penalty and trailed 1-0 at the break. A superb volley from the eventual Man of the Match and current Brighton loanee Andrew Moran got Ireland back level 10 minutes into the second half.
However, Turkey were ahead once again as Ireland switched off in defence which allowed Standard Liege player Cihan Canak to sneak in unmarked to volley home.
Now chasing the game, Crawford opted to bring on wingers Zak Gilsenan and Tony Springett over Rocco Vata, unsurprisingly considering both players are operating at a higher level than Vata having both featured for English Championship sides this season.
Gilsenan would slot home a penalty in the 87th minute and second half substitute Aidomo Emakhu would score the winner as the Irish opened their qualifying campaign with a tremendous victory.
In terms of Celtic’s representation on the park, Bosun Lawal was outstanding while Johnny Kenny looked dangerous. Lawal was composed on the ball throughout and dominated the Turkish attack physically winning the majority of his aerial battles. Consistent first team football at a decent level in League One seems to have worked wonders for the 20-year-old.
Kenny’s pace troubled the Turkish defence although the current Shamrock Rovers player should have scored his one-on-one opportunity in the first half. Kenny, Lawal, Vata and the rest of the Irish squad head to San Marino next Tuesday, where hopefully Rocco will get a game.
Celtic loanee Bosun Lawal was absolute quality at centre-half tonight. On another day he scores as-well. Seems to really have benefited from a higher level of football in League One. Another Celtic loanee Johnny Kenny impressed too tonight. https://t.co/vWAanZvpX5
— James ffrench (@ffrench1967) September 8, 2023