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Ross Redman

Girls bank on 11 aside competiton

The Northern Ireland Schools Football Association has teamed up with Danske Bank to provide a girls 11 aside competition this year. 

This year the girls 11 a side competition was held in 5 regions across Northern Ireland.  There were 27 teams involved in the competitions with over 416 girls participating in the regional heats with the winners advancing to the girls 11aside finals in January. 

In the first of the regional heats at Ulster University Coleraine, Lisneal College and St Mary’s College excelled with St Mary’s eventually running out group winners.

Last year’s winners St Louise’s College Belfast booked their place in the finals winning in a very tight match against St Genevieve’s, Belfast in the Belfast/ Antrim heat.  In the Tyrone and Fermanagh heat Holy Cross showed their strength and numbers with their A team having to play their B team in the final. Holy Cross College will be representing Tyrone and Fermanagh at the finals.

In the Down heat in Londonderry park St Joseph’s proved too strong winning their section and not dropping a point against the likes of Glenlola College and Strangford High School. Clounagh Junior High will be representing the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon are in the finals of the school girls 11 aside competitions which will be played at Allen Park on the 17th January 2018.

The competition aims to give school girls more opportunities at playing 11 aside football, growing and learning the laws of the game. This is the first year Northern Ireland Schools Football Association has collaborated with the competition with the hope that the competition can  go from strength to strength in the coming years. 

Poland U16 prove too strong for NI

A positive year for Northern Ireland’s U16s ended on a low note as they were swept aside by a strong Poland side in the second of their two friendly games against the Poles this week.

After narrowly losing 2-0 in game one in Belfast on Tuesday, Northern Ireland were planning to give it a real go at Stangmore Park in Dungannon yesterday, with manager Darren Murphy making five changes to the starting line-up.

But the Poles had other ideas and they simply proved too strong for the boys in green as they secured a 5-0 win.

The Schoolboys’ side started brightly but fell behind when Filip Marchwinski converted from close range.

The home team could have been back on level terms when Alberto Balde was given a free header inside the Polish box but keeper Kacper Bleszczad made a fantastic save.

Poland went 2-0 up on 12 minutes with Jakub Kaminski firing a shot past David Walsh from the edge of the box.

Northern Ireland look dangerous during a series of free-kicks, with Jack Scott inches away from pulling a goal back. 

Then Poland pushed forward again and Walsh was called into action to make a smart save from a long range effort by Kacper Zajqc.

Poland got their third on the stroke of half-time when the lively Marchwinski collected the ball inside the box, slipped past a defender and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Northern Ireland brought on four substitutes at the start of the second half with McKiernan, Johnston, Gallagher and McGivern coming on for Hume, Hutchinson, Bradley and Scott.

Shortly after the restart Poland get their fourth of the game with man of the match Kaminski driving through the heart of the Northern Ireland midfield, playing a one-two and then beating Walsh with a neat finish.

Darren Murphy’s side continued to battle hard, however it was Poland who could have scored again only to be kept out by a fantastic save from Walsh.

Towards the end of the game Poland controlled possession without creating much to trouble the Northern Ireland keeper.

But they did have the final say. Daniel Dudzinski finished the scoring for the Polish team, slotting the ball into the bottom corner after latching on to a defence-splitting through ball.

Northern Ireland: David Walsh, Jack Scott, Trai Hume, Dylan Boyle, Gerard Storey, Alberto Balde, Ben Wylie, Jesse Carson, Chris Hutchinson, Barry Baggley, Conor Bradley. Substitutes: Conner Byrne, John McGivern, Ben Gallagher, Peter McKiernan, Carl Johnston, Eoin Teggart, Charlie Lindsay, Sean Stewart.

Laurelhill achieve gold schools quality mark

Laurelhill achieve Gold Quality Mark

Laurelhill Community College have become the third post primary school in Northern Ireland to be awarded the IFA Gold School Quality Mark.  The School Quality Mark is a vital aspect of the IFA’s Let them Play Strategy, it strives to improve structures in primary and post primary schools to allow schools football to flourish.  The quality mark was first launched in Laurelhill Community College in January 2016 with more than 20 schools achieving one of the three levels of accreditation.

Laurelhill teacher Mark Watson is delighted the school has been recognised for their continued development of football in the school “This is the highest achievement that a school can gain, Laurelhill always strives for excellence not just in the classroom but on the sporting field. We offer both A and B teams from Year 8-14 which compete in the Lisburn League, Belfast and Northern Ireland Cup competitions, we also offer girls football from u12 – u18 with 1 team in each year group.  We have extensive facilities with our gravel pitch to be converted to a full size 3G and a 9 a side 3G next summer.  The school has based its approach on participation however has had success in schools competitions over the years including winning the NISFA U16 Cup and the IFA U15 futsal cup.”

 

Poland too strong for young NI team

Northern Ireland’s U16s lost out to a strong Poland side this afternoon in the first of two friendly games against the Poles this week.

The visitors from eastern Europe dominated the early exchanges but Northern Ireland gave as good as they got across the bulk of the 80 minutes and were a tad unlucky to lose 2-0. It was an entertaining encounter. Queen’s University’s Dub complex in south Belfast was the venue for part one of this week’s double header. Poland started the game brightly and only a last ditch tackle from Trai Hume prevented the Schoolboys’ side from going behind in the opening minutes. However, the Poles broke the deadlock shortly after when Michal Rakoczy latched on to a misplaced pass to beat a defender before finishing past Conner Byrne in the Northern Ireland goal. Byrne was called into action again minutes later when a free-kick evaded the defence and the keeper reacted smartly to keep the ball out. Northern Ireland’s first effort in the game came from Eoin Teggart, whose shot from a tight angle just missed the post. Carl Johnson was next to threaten when he beat a pair of Polish defenders only to blaze his shot over the bar.

The second half started in similar fashioin to the first with Poland on top. Conner Byrne reacted well to push away a Bartosz Zynek goalbound effort and then shortly after he was alert to save an Arkadiusz Baran strike from distance. Encouraged by energetic captain Dylan Boyle, Northern Ireland created a couple of half-chances, the best of which saw an Alberto Balde header drop just wide of the target. The second Polish goal came around the midway point of the second half when Filip Marchwinski blocked an attempted clearance by the keeper and slotted the ball into the net from close range.The game lost its flow a little after a string of changes by both sides but Northern Ireland did threaten late on. Chris Hutchinson dragged a shot wide of the upright when well placed.

Substitute Charlie Lindsay had a fantastic chance to get himself on the scoresheet on his debut when he robbed the Polish goalkeeper of the ball and unleashed a shot but it was blocked on the line by a recovering defender. Afterwards team coach Darren Murphy said the Poles had provided strong opposition but he felt the Northern Ireland team acquitted themselves well. He pointed out three members of his panel were playing a year down from the U16 age group, while 13-year-old Lindsay was playing two years down. He further revealed Northern Ireland have not defeated a Polish team at underage level since 2003 but he hopes to put that right in the second game, which is being staged at Stangmore Park in Dungannon on Thursday (30 November) at 3pm. 

Northern Ireland: Conner Byrne, Jack Scott, Sean Stewart, Trai Hume, Dylan Boyle, John McGivern, Carl Johnson, Ben Wylie, Peter McKiernan, Eoin Teggart, Alberto Balde. Subs: David Walsh, Jesse Carson, Chris Hutchinson, Gerard Storey, Conor Bradley, Barry Baggley, Ben Gallagher, Charlie Lindsay.

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