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Republic of Ireland 2-1 Hungary: Troy Parrott goal for John O’Shea’s side ends visitors’ 14-game unbeaten run

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Substitute Troy Parrott strengthened John O’Shea’s claims on the vacant manager’s job as he fired the Republic of Ireland to victory over Euro 2024-bound Hungary.

The 22-year-old Tottenham striker, who spent last season on loan at Dutch club Excelsior, struck in stoppage-time to seal a smash-and-grab 2-1 victory over Marco Rossi’s men which ended their 14-game unbeaten run.

For Ireland, whose only wins since March last year had come against European minnows Gibraltar, there was a measure of relief after a turbulent period in their recent history, with Stephen Kenny’s successor still to be appointed almost seven months after his departure.

O’Shea, who will take his team to Portugal next Sunday, saw Adam Idah head them into the lead and after stubbornly surviving a fightback during which Adam Lang levelled, win it at the death.

The Football Association of Ireland has insisted Kenny’s successor will be in place by the time the squad meets up ahead of September’s Nations League opener against England, and the former Manchester United defender is increasingly making a case for himself.

Hungary, on the other hand, will face Israel in their final warm-up game on Saturday knowing they will have to be sharper in Germany if they are to prosper on the big stage.

Ireland, who had started in sloppy fashion, gradually worked their way into the game as the impressive Will Smallbone started to see more of the ball in the middle of the field, but they were almost undone when Shane Duffy was nudged off balance by Barnabas Varga only for Loic Nego to blaze over.

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The result earned John O’Shea his first victory as interim manager, having previously drawn with Belgium and lost to Switzerland

Andras Schafer dragged a shot wide of Caoimhin Kelleher’s left post after bursting into the box with genuine chances at a premium, although the Liverpool keeper had to make a solid 29th-minute save from Milos Kerkez after Smallbone and Josh Cullen has both lost out in 50-50 challenges on halfway.

For their part, Ireland were trying to get the ball forward quickly, at times by-passing midfield all together, although that too often left Idah, Sammie Szmodics and Finn Azaz, making his first senior start for his country, repeatedly chasing lost causes.

Dara O’Shea’s forward run and Szmodics’ intelligent pass looked to have got the Republic in behind Hungary 12 minutes before the break, but indecision between Idah and Matt Doherty saw a fleeting opening slip away.

But Idah, who won the double with Celtic on loan from Norwich last season, made amends within three minutes when Smallbone was given time and space to pick out the frontman, who powered a header past keeper Peter Gulacsi unchallenged to give his side the lead.

Hungary were level before the break, if in slightly fortuitous circumstances, when skipper Dominik Szoboszlai’s deflected long-range shot was flicked on by Willi Orban and Lang arrived at the far post to blast into the roof of the net.

Lyon defender Jake O’Brien was handed a senior debut when he and Liam Scales replaced Doherty and Duffy at the break, but Kelleher had to come to their rescue 11 minutes after the restart, diving to his right to keep out Roland Sallai’s strike after Szoboszlai’s menacing run.

The Ireland keeper then dealt admirably with Schafer’s swerving effort as the Hungarians stepped up a gear, pinning the hosts back inside their own half and forcing them to defend for their lives.

But defend they did, and they got their reward in the second minute of stoppage-time when Parrott broke from his own half and with the Hungarian defence absent without leave, squeezed a shot past substitute keeper Denes Dibusz to win it.

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