Craig Cathcart helped Northern Ireland get their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign off to a victorious start with a 2-0 victory over Estonia in Belfast.

The Watford defender, who won his 41st international cap, played his part in ensuring Michael O’Neill’s men kept a clean sheet, although it took some time for their dominance to be rewarded.

With Germany and the Netherlands in the same group, the Northern Irish needed to get off to a positive start, but while they controlled possession for long periods they were unable to turn it into goals in a frustrating first half.

However, the deadlock was broken in the 56th minute when Niall McGinn lashed home from a Kyle Lafferty lay-off, before the advantage was doubled when Steven Davis converted a 75th-minute penalty.

Northern Ireland return to Windsor Park on Sunday to face a Belarus side who were beaten 4-0 by the Dutch in their opening qualifier last night.

There was disappointment for Cathcart’s central defensive teammate Sebastian Prodl though, as Austria lost 1-0 at home to Poland in their opening Group G qualifier.

The 31-year-old, whose campaign has been hampered by injury, was an unused substitute as a 68th-minute goal from Krzysztof Piatek clinched the points for the Poles.

Austria now head to Israel for their second qualifier on Sunday.

There was also success for Poland at Under-20 level as they won 3-1 against England at St George’s Park, a game in which Ben Wilmot had to settle for being an unused replacement.

Fellow Hornets youngster Ryan Cassidy played the full 90 minutes as Republic of Ireland Under-18s were beaten 4-0 in the first game of a double header in Turkey.