Ireland's Adam Idah of Ireland in action against Jose Joaquin Esquivel of Mexico during the Toulon Tournament Group C match at Parsemain in Fos-sur-Mer, France. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
Ireland Under-21s have their Toulon Tournament future in their own hands after battling to a draw against Mexico tonight.
Both nations had won their opening Group C matches on Monday, Ireland hammering China 4-1, and Kenny's side showed a grittier side to their game by remaining compact against last year’s runners-up.
In fact, it was Ireland who created the better of the chances at the Stade Parsemain, Adam Idah squandering the best of them on 17 minutes.
Caoimhin Kelleher in the Ireland goal was relatively untroubled throughout, aside from a free-kick by Jairo Torres on the hour which smacked off the crossbar.
The result, leaving both teams on four points, means Ireland will be guaranteed a place in the last four by beating Bahrain in Sunday’s concluding game.
If they record a better win than Mexico do afterwards in their meeting with China, Ireland will progress as victors of the group.
Ireland's Jayson Molumby in action against Erick Germain Aguirre of Mexico during the Toulon Tournament in Fos-sur-Mer, France. Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Sportsfile
Awaiting them in the semi-finals could be Brazil or Japan.
Victory will be expected against a Bahrain side beaten 2-0 by Mexico and 4-1 by China.
Kenny made one change to the side that so convincingly accounted for China. Aaron Connolly, who set up the opener after 33 seconds and finished the second himself four minutes later, was suffering with a bug and so dropped to the bench. Into his place for a first start at Under-21 came Simon Power.
Mexico goalkeeper Jose Hernandez was the first to be tested on seven minutes when he got down to bat away Jayson Molumby's cracking drive.
From a corner, Idah's flick-on almost reached Dara O’Shea but an even better opportunity was missed moments later.
The creativity of Connor Ronan was to the fore in releasing Idah into space but he couldn't maintain his golden streak at international level, dragging his low effort wide of the far post. Power was next to threaten, firing straight at Hernandez.
Mexico only came alive as an attacking force in the second half without being allowed to dominate.
Molumby was off-target with a chance for Ireland on the break but Ireland remained in control, seeing out the third match of Kenny's reign.
IRELAND: C Kelleher (Liverpool); L O'Connor (Manchester United), D O'Shea (West Brom), C Masterson (Liverpool), D Leahy (Bohemians); J Molumby (Brighton & Hove Albion), C Coventry (West Ham United); Z Elbouzedi (Waterford), C Ronan (Wolves), S Power (Norwich City); A Idah (Norwich City).
Subs: A Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Power (46), A Drinan (Waterford) for Idah (83).
MEXICO: J Hernandez; A Mozo, I Govea, J Angulo, G Arteaga; Erick Aguirre (F Cordova 86), J Esquivel, F Beltran (P Lopez 73); J Torres, P Yrizar (U Cardona 79), J Godinez (Eduardo Aguirre 70).