Northern Ireland 4-0 Faroe Islands
Captain Billy Kee stole the show in Belfast with a hat-trick in a routine qualifying Group 4 win for Steve Beaglehole's team.
Article top media content
Billy Kee scored a hat-trick as Northern Ireland overwhelmed the Faroe Islands in 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 4.
The Northern Ireland captain opened the scoring on 25 minutes with a magnificent dipping effort into the top right-hand corner, and the game was as good as over when he added another from long range moments later. Kee turned provider for Josh Magennis − who turns 21 in five days' time − after 32 minutes, yet it was not until a quarter of an hour from time that he completed his treble with a lofted finish over Teitur Gestson.
Conor Devlin saved a late penalty when these sides drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture in May, but was seldom called upon as Steve Beaglehole's men dominated, Kee in particular spurning three chances in the early stages. He made up for that in style, however, with two goals from outside the area and then teed up strike partner Magennis, who received an early birthday present when he turned sharply and fired in a low shot.
Kee twice came close to adding a third for himself in the second half − the latter occasion when he shot wide of the empty net following confusion in the Faroese defence between Gestson and Erling Jacobsen − but righted those wrongs when he reached Oliver Norwood's pass over the top.
The only downside to an otherwise comfortable afternoon for the hosts was the straight red shown to James Knowles 11 minutes from time for a challenge on substitute Gunnar Zachariasen. Northern Ireland lead the group by three points from the Faroe Islands, with none of the other three teams yet to begin their campaign.