Derby County defender Eiran Cashin won his first cap for the Republic of Ireland’s Under-21s on Monday afternoon.

The 20-year-old centre-back played the full 90 minutes as they claimed a 3-1 home victory over Montenegro in their latest UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifier.

Confirmation of Cashin’s eligibility for Ireland was received late last week and his Under-21s bow proved to be a memorable occasion as they continue to remain in with an excellent chance of reaching next year’s finals.

Will Smallbone, Liam Kerrigan and Tyreik Wright scored the goals for Ireland, with Cashin weighing in with an assist for Kerrigan’s goal.

Ireland, managed by Jim Crawford, are second in Group F with six wins and a draw from their nine matches so far and are only one point off top spot.

Ireland will now travel to Stadio Cino e Lillo Del Duca in Ascoli Piceno to take on Italy in a crucial match, who are one place and one point ahead of them in the standings, on Tuesday 14th June (4:30pm kick-off).

The nine qualifying group winners and the best runner-up (not counting results against sixth-placed teams) will qualify directly for the final tournament in 2023, joining co-hosts Georgia and Romania. The other eight runners-up will play off for the remaining four finals berths in September.

Centre-back Cashin, who scored his first goal for the club in the 2-0 against Blackpool in the penultimate game of the 2021/22 campaign, played 18 times for Wayne Rooney’s side in his debut campaign after breaking into the side in the second half of the season.