Malta’s first commitment in Group C of the 2022 European Championship qualifying round turned out to be a stroll as Karl Izzo’s team disposed of Ireland as easily as the 28-4 scoreline indicates.
The hosts simply lived in another street as they kept piling the goals at regular intervals.
The disparity was so clear that eight of the 13-man squad put their name on the scorers’ list for Malta with Jake Muscat and Matthew Zammit each netting six goals followed by Ben Plumpton scoring five goals.
The result means that Malta have laid a strong claim to qualify from the four-team group which sees the top two book their place at the European Championship to be held this summer in Split.
It was a heartening display since it must be said that Malta’s squad included some promising but untried elements alongside the established pack.
Apart from Steve Camilleri, who was on duty with his Italian team Muri Antichi, the Maltese were also without Andreas Galea.
Malta made their intention clear in the first sessions when they managed to find the net 13 times.
Two goals apiece from Matthew Zammit and Jake Muscat, with Plumpton also on the scoresheet in the first session, put the hosts in the driving seat as Malta went 5-0 up.
That gave the onus to the home side to press further on the accelerator and with a quick-fire brace from Plumpton saw them surge 9-0 ahead.
The Irish couldn’t match the speed and power of the local side with Muscat, Zammit, and Plumpton adding more goals to go into the half-time interval 13 goals ahead.
It was more of the same dose after the break as the Maltese’s scoring machine kept going relentlessly as they added seven more goals.
In the last quarter, Malta scored eight goals to make it 28-4.
(5-0, 8-0, 7-1, 8-3)
N. Grixti, J. Muscat 6, M. Mifsud 2, J. Gambin 3, Darren Zammit, M. Zammit 6, B. Plumpton 5, J. Camilleri, J. Abela, N. Zammit 1, Z. Mizzi 1, Dino Zammit 4, J. Tanti.
E. Doyle, B. Murphy, C. Walshe, C. Devlin, M. Hynes, A. Caulfield, S. McMahon 3, M. Connolly, E. Bridgeman, M. Fitzgerald 1, A. Mullaney, C. Colvin, G. O’Brien.
Refs: E. Schapper (Netherlands), T. Kavcic (Slovenia).
(1-0, 5-0, 4-1, 4-0)
M. Tic, A. Neamtu, L. Vatrai 1, M. Gheorghe 1, A. Gheorghe, A. Prioteasa 2, V. Dragomirescu 3, A. Fulea 4, S. Colodrovschi 1, V. Georgescu 2, F. Czenk, L. Vancsik, A. Mihaluta.
S. Motuzas, K. Blazevic, D. Tomasevski, J. Gostautas, R. Jakutis, P. Vadvilavicius, A. Jonkus, M. Pelakauskas, G. Zurza, J. Galinok 1, E. Pumputis, D. Vitkauskas, J. Balcikonis.
Refs: P. Radic (Slovakia), L. Krol (Poland)