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Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 21:35 GMT
Healy gives McIlroy perfect start

Striker James Quinn has much to thank Healy for

Luxembourg 1-3 Northern Ireland

Manchester United teenager David Healy scored two goals on his international debut to give Sammy McIlroy a great start to his managerial career away to Luxembourg.

The young forward scored mid-way through the first half and just after half-time to give the small travelling support something to cheer about, following a recent run of poor international results.

West Brom's James Quinn put the icing on the cake when Healy supplied the assist for the third.

The game started brightly enough for McIlroy's side, especially through the precocious talents of Healy.

The 20-year-old striker was showing some neat touches in around the Luxembourg penalty area.

Blackburn winger Keith Gillespie was making his first appearance in 11 months for the national side, and showed his form of old as he terrorised the Luxembourg defence down the right.

Healy's strike partner James Quinn should have given them the lead, when his shot was well held by Luxembourg keeper Alija Besic.

Healy made his impact after just 21 minutes when Blackburn's Damien Johnson swung in a ball from the right.

Healy glanced the ball on to Gillespie, but the winger chose to pass the ball back to Healy, who did not hesitate in despatching his shot past Besic.

Gillespie was on hand again to send in a fantastic whipped ball into the penalty area, only to see midfielder Jim Magilton's spectacular effort strike the the crossbar and bounce to safety.

But just four minutes before half-time the tiny state of Luxembourg equalised from a free-kick.

The impressive Gillespie conceded a foul 25 yards out and forward Manuel Cardoni stepped up to curl a great effort past Northern Ireland keeper Roy Carroll.

Three minutes after the interval young Healy put McIlroy's men back in command - but much was owed to the work of Watford defender Mark Williams.

The centre-half dispossessed Kaiserslaurtern's Jeff Strasser on the edge of the area and fed a neat pass through to Healy, who had the simple task to put his side 2-1 into the lead.

Williams was later substituted for Preston star Colin Murdock, who came on for his first cap.

Northern Ireland were going for the jugular and they got their just rewards three minutes before time when Healy sent in a carefully weighted ball through to Quinn and his shot gave Besic no chance.


Luxembourg: Besic, Vanek, Schaack, Birsens, Strasser, Saibene, F Deville, Holtz, Braun, Cardoni, Schnieder. Subs: Gillet, L Deville, Reiter, Posing, Theis, Amodio, Christophe, Huss, Zaritski.

Northern Ireland: Carroll, Nolan, Williams, Griffin, A Hughes, Gillespie, Lomas, Magilton, Johnson, Healy, J Quinn. Subs: Taylor, McGibbon, Murdock, Sonner, M Hughes, Coote, Robinson.

Referee: Manfred Schuttengruber (Austria)
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