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Ross Redman

U16's complete double over Estonia

The Northern Ireland Under 16 team completed the double over Estonia and maintained their unbeaten record for the season with a comprehensive 4-1 victory at Seaview.

There was little between the teams in the early stages but after 27 minutes Alberto Balde caused panic in the visitors defence and Kristjan Stuff handled the ball.  George Tipton, son of Warrenpoint Town Manager Matthew Tipton, stepped up to blast the spot kick into the roof of the net.

After the break Estonia came more into the game and Rudhan Hughes did well to keep out a fierce free kick by Patrick Veelma while Aleksandr Sapovalov was narrowly off target with a long range effort.  Soon afterwards Estonia deservedly drew level when Sapovalov, who had scored for the visitors in their 3-1 defeat at Comber on Monday, netted with a close range header.

At this stage it looked as if Estonia would go on to record their first success at Under 16 level against Northern Ireland but gradually the home team regained control and after 78 minutes Chris McKee found the net when put through by Jack Scott.

Two minutes later Peter McKiernan doubled the lead with a spectacular effort as the lively striker twisted and turned his way past two defenders before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.

In stoppage time Scott completed the scoring with a 25 yard effort which gave the Estonian keeper no chance.

The Under 16 team can expect a sterner test when they travel to Finland next month for two games in Jyvaskyla.

Northern Ireland

Rudhan Hughes, Jack Scott, Peter Bell, Dylan Boyle (c), Aaron Brown, Alberto Balde, George Tipton, Trai Hume, Barry Baggley, Eoin Teggert, Aidan Steele

Substitutes

Michael Glynn (replaced Brown 51 minutes), Peter McKiernan (Tipton 51'), Chris McKee (Balde 51'), Naseem Ouldhamlat (Teggert 51'), Jesse Carson (Bell 65'), Ben Wylie (Hume 65'), Chris Hutchinson (Baggley 65'), Carl Johnston (Steele 65')

U16's to face Estonia in double header

Under 16s face Estonia

Northern Ireland Under 16 Manager Darren Murphy is hoping that his young charges can maintain their unbeaten record when they play two games against Estonia next week.  In May his team recorded two victories 2-1 at home to Slovakia and the following month the squad travelled to Austria and came home with a scoreless draw and a 1-1 draw against an unbeaten Austrian team.

Now Estonia provide the opposition at Comber on Monday 14 August, kick off 6.30 pm, and two days later Knockbreda FC is the venue, kick off 3.00 pm.

Murphy is looking forward to his young side taking on the visitors.  “The team was outstanding in the matches against Slovakia and Austria and now I am hoping that they can advance to an even higher level.  We have an excellent record against Estonia, winning four and drawing two of the last six games.  Those matches were all very close and the boys will have to pull out all the stops to maintain our record against Estonia.  This is just the start of an extensive programme of international matches for the boys.  In September the team travels to Finland for two games.  It will be a good experience for our boys to pit their skills against the best Continental teams.  This is just the sort of test that we need before embarking on the Victory Shield campaign against Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland in October.  The games against Estonia and Finland will give everyone a chance to stake a claim for their place in the squad for the Victory Shield”.

The Northern Ireland Schools’ Football Association is offering free entrance to any school or youth group wishing to attend the games against Estonia.

Any group wishing to gain free entrance should send their details by email to Edwin Ferris, NISFA Treasurer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain a group permit.

Edwin Ferris

(NISFA Press Officer)

King's Park Secure Gold Accreditation

King’s Park Primary and Nursery School in Lurgan has become the first primary school in Northern Ireland to achieve a Gold Award under the Irish Football Association’s School Quality Mark programme.

Through the programme the association strives to maximise the number of schoolchildren exercising and playing football, enhance grassroots football, build capacity in schools and develop school and club links.

Irish FA Foundation Schools Manager Jonathan Michael said he was delighted to announce King’s Park as the first gold standard primary school under the School Quality Mark programme.

He pointed out: “King’s Park play in a variety of competitions throughout the year and always give the pupils the opportunity to participate. To be the first primary school to achieve the gold accreditation shows the school’s focus on football and the commitment of the staff to go above and beyond to provide after-school activities. 

“King’s Park’s structures and processes will be used as examples of best practice to assist other schools in gaining a quality mark accreditation.”

The Lurgan school won two national football finals this year (NISFA five-a-side and NISFA large school seven-a-side) and they are also Northern Ireland cross-country boys’ champions for the third year running and, for the first time, NI cross-country girls’ champions.

“The promotion of sport and in particular of football for both boys and girls has been very much part of our school’s development plan over recent years. King’s Park has a long history of producing footballers who have gone on to play at senior level in the Irish League and beyond,” said Ashton Shields, head of football at King’s Park.

“Over recent years we have developed a number of partnerships through which we have encouraged sporting excellence at all levels in our school. The catalyst for much of our recent success was the construction in 2012 of a full-size Multi-Use Games Area within our school grounds. 

“This surface has proved to be a major asset in developing all pupil participation, enjoyment of active learning and in coaching the finer skills over a wide range of sports, football being a major beneficiary.”

He also pointed out several teachers at the school have Irish FA coaching qualifications which are transferable to other sports, while football is a major ingredient of King’s Park’s extensive after school clubs programme. Futsal is also now part of that programme.

He explained Irish FA coaching and development personnel have been working in the school for several years - and their input has been greatly valued by staff and children alike.

The head of football further revealed Lurgan-based Irish Premiership side Glenavon have been “extremely encouraging” and have provided the school with coaches ranging from Level One to UEFA A and Pro level coaches. And another local side, Lurgan Town, have also played their part in developing the skills of the pupils attending King’s Park.

U15's secure second away draw

Northern Ireland’s Under-15 Schoolboys side drew their second and final tour game against Austria’s U15s.

After registering a scoreless draw in the first of their two international friendlies in Austria, the U15s drew 1-1 with their hosts in game two. 

The second game of their short tour to eastern Austria saw Northern Ireland play in temperatures reaching 35 degrees.

Austria started strongly in the match at the Lindabrunn Stadium at Enzesfeld-Lindabrunn. Denizcan Cosgun and Matthias Brunnoder combined well to carve open the Northern Ireland defence but Brunnoder's shot drifted past the post.

However, on 11 minutes the visitors missed a great chance to open the scoring. Barry Baggley found Alberto Almanzar with a pinpoint cross but the unmarked striker headed straight at the Austrian keeper from six yards out. Soon afterwards Almanzar outpaced the home defence but dragged his shot wide of the upright.

The Austrians were quickly back on the front foot and Ruadhan McKenna produced a great save to keep out a 25-yard piledriver from Dino Rusovic.  

But the Northern Ireland keeper was given no chance on the stroke of half-time when Edin Mujkanovic crossed from the right and Rusovic volleyed the ball into the net from close range.

On the restart Northern Ireland upped the ante and Peter McKiernan thought that he had snatched the equaliser, bundling the ball over the line when Austrian keeper Nikolas Polster dropped a free-kick by Gerard Storey. However, the referee disallowed the goal for a foul on the keeper.

On 67 minutes the visitors deservedly drew level when John McGivern met a cross from Ben Wylie to net with a powerful header. 

In the closing stages Northern Ireland pressed strongly in search of the winner with George Tipton and Aidan Steele both going close.

The U15 Schoolboys will next be in action against Estonia at Comber on 14 August and at Knockbreda two days later.

Northern Ireland line-up: Ruadhan McKenna (Portadown); Peter Bell (Dungannon United Youth); Dylan Boyle (captain, Ridgeway Rovers); Trai Hume (Linfield); Chris Hutchinson (Portadown); Michael Glynn (Ballinamallard United); Carl Johnston (Linfield); Alberto Almanzar (Portadown); Barry Baggley (Glentoran); John McGivern (Ridgeway Rovers); Naseem Ouldhamlat (Glentoran).

Substitutes: Gerard Storey (Ridgeway Rovers, replaced Johnston 20’); Peter McKiernan (Cliftonville, for Ouldhamlat 40’); Jessie Carson (Linfield, for Bell 40’); Ben Wylie (Linfield, for Glynn 40’); George Tipton (Ridgeway Rovers, for Baggley 54’); Aidan Steele (Cliftonville, for Hutchinson 54’).

 

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