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U16's earn draw in Poland

Under 16s draw in Poland

Buoyed  by their success in capturing the Victory Shield one week ago the Northern Ireland Under 16 team began their short tour to Poland in confident mood despite facing an experienced Polish team which had lost only once in ten outings this year..

The visitors started brightly and might have taken the lead after 5 minutes. Sean McAllister was brought down just outside the penalty area and took the free kick himself, bringing an outstanding save from Krzysztof Barkowski.

Five minutes later Poland replied with a speculative shot from Aleksander Buksa which dipped just over the bar.

A corner by Conor Bradley caused problems in the home defence and Charlie Allen's close range effort was cleared off the line.  Allen then outpaced his marker down the right and a low cross was turned onto the post by Dale Taylor.

After the break another foray down the right saw Allen fire a low ball across the goal but Taylor was just unable to apply the finishing touch.

Buksa was a constant threat for Poland and the tall striker almost broke the deadlock midway through the second half but his shot from 25 yards crashed against the bar with Conner Byrne well beaten.

In the closing stages spurred on by a vociferous support Poland piled on the pressure but the Northern Ireland defence, in which centre back Shea Charles was a calming influence, held firm for a well deserved draw.                                                                   

The teams meet again on Thursday at Swarzędz.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

Conner Byrne, Sean McAllister, Sean Stewart, Aaron Donnelly, Shea Charles, Orrin McLaughlin, Charlie Allen, Jonah Heron, Dale Taylor, Isaac Price, Conor Bradley (captain)

 

Substitutes

Caolan McBride (replaced Bradley 80 + 3 minutes)

NI Claim Victory Shield

Northern Ireland’s U16 Schoolboys defeated Wales 3-1 in Tralee this afternoon to claim the Victory Shield for only the second time in the country’s history.

Orrin McLaughlin, Vicky Saldanha and Euan Williams (penalty) scored the goals that created history for Declan Boyle’s team.

A 1-1 draw against Scotland on Wednesday night meant a win against Wales this afternoon would see them lift the trophy for the first time since 2000-01 when a certain Steven Davis was part of the squad.

Northern Ireland defeated the Republic of Ireland 3-1 in their first game in the tournament on Monday.

 

 

NI still undefeated in Victory Shield

Victory Shield U 16 Tournament Tralee Co. Kerry. Match 2 Northern Ireland v Scotland Mounthawk Park, Wednesday 14 November 2018. KO 6 pm.

 

Brave Northern Ireland stay top of the Victory Shield table after a battling 1-1 draw with Scotland despite playing with ten men from the 30 th minute of the opening half.

Scotland took the lead after 20 min. with a goal from striker Christopher Mochrie who beat Conner Byrne at his near post with a clinical finish. Northern Ireland suffered a set back on the half hour when  Sean McAllister received a second yellow card.

On resumption in the second half substitute Charlie Allen went close with a low left foot shot which was just inches wide. In the 50th min substitute Euan Williams brilliantly cut inside his marker from the right before unleashing an unstoppable shot low to the keeper’s left.

Two minutes later Ross McCausland almost gave Northern Ireland the lead when he shot across the keeper, but it just drifted wide of the left hand post. On the hour Scotland’s Alex Lowry spurned a good chance when he shot wide from inside the box.

Northern Ireland’s defence was outstanding against late Scottish pressure, but on the counterattack Northern Ireland looked threatening and Dale Taylor raced through the heart of the Scottish defence, but his pass to McCausland was slightly overhit.

Despite 5 added minutes in driving rain Scotland could not breach a solid Northern Ireland rearguard in which centre backs Lewis MacKinnon & Aaron Donnelly were outstanding.

Northern Ireland can now go on & win the Victory Shield by beating Wales on Friday.

Overall a tremendous team display by the Northern Ireland heroes.  Manager Gerald Boyle ‘’ Delighted with the performances of all the boys and how they adapted tactically to Scotland’s setup, especially going down to ten men, so early in the game. Very proud, however, we want to push on and bring the Victory Shield home outright for only the second time in 73 years. ‘’ 

U16's defeat Victory shield holder in opener

Northern Ireland’s Schoolboys got their 2018 Victory Shield campaign off to a flying start with a fine win against their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.

Two late goals helped them ease past the Republic, the current shield holders, on a 3-1 scoreline in Co Kerry.

This year’s Under-16 Schoolboys’ competition is being organised by the Football Association of Ireland’s Schools department on behalf of the Schools’ Association Football International Board.

The first half of the game, which was played at Mounthawk Park in Tralee last night, was pretty even, although Northern Ireland shaded it in terms of possession.

Both sides had opportunities before the first clearcut chance fell to Republic striker Oliver O’Neill but he directed a cross from Lee Harkin over the bar.

Then Republic midfielder Ben McCormack smashed a shot against the post before striker Louie Barry’s long range effort was palmed away superbly by Northern Ireland keeper Conner Byrne on 32 minutes. 

After the break, however, Northern Ireland started to get a grip on proceedings and they deservedly took the lead on 62 minutes when Linfield attacker Ross McCausland drilled the ball into the net from just outside the area.

The Republic drew level just a minute later when O’Neill pounced on a mistake by a defender and slammed the ball home. 

The home side pushed forward – cheered on by a 500-strong crowd – but Northern Ireland launched a superb counter attack on 85 minutes which resulted in them taking the lead. Following a flowing move substitute Ciaran McGuckin (Rotherham United) was on hand to stroke the ball into the corner of the net. 

And St Oliver Plunkett player Sean Stewart put the icing on the cake in stoppage time with another lovely finish. 

The Victory Shield was presented to SAFIB in 1947 to mark, as suggested by its title, victory by the Allies in World War II - and has been played for continuously since then. England have not entered for the past few years, so Northern Ireland’s U16s are facing Wales, Scotland and the Republic in the 2018 tournament this week.

Northern Ireland will be hoping to produce another positive display in their second game in the competition, which is against Scotland at Mounthawk tomorrow (14 November, 18.00). Their final game is also at Mounthawk on Friday when they take on Wales (13.00). 

Northern Ireland Schoolboys team v Republic of Ireland: Conner Byrne, Sean Stewart, Aaron Donnelly, Lewis MacKinnon, Orrin McLaughlin, Conor Bradley (captain), Charlie Allen, Dale Taylor (Ciaran McGuckin 70’), Euan Williams (Caolan McBride 62’), Ross McCausland, Vicky Saldanha (Sean McAllister 70’).

16's perform strongly against Finland

Northern Ireland U16s head coach Declan Devine has praised his players for “performing to a very high standard” against Finland’s U16s.

The U16 Schoolboys side faced the Finns in two challenge matches over a three-day period – and Devine said he had taken “a lot of positives” from the games. Two almost completely different squads were chosen for the encounters in Belfast and Dungannon. In the first game last week the Schoolboys were beaten 3-1 by the Finns, however the matchday two squad ran out 2-1 winners after a pulsating contest. 

“We had something like 29 players to choose from. This is a very strong age group for us and the idea was to give the kids a platform to play on and to give them a taste of international football. It was a very worthwhile exercise,” said the U16s manager. “We actually played much better in the first game. We hit the woodwork a few times but we were wasteful in front of goal,” he added.

The Finns, who defeated Sweden twice last month, snatched two late goals to record a 3-1 victory in game one at New Midgley Park.A defensive lapse allowed Casper Terho to open the scoring for Finland with a close range finish after 12 minutes. Despite the early setback Northern Ireland controlled the play, twice hitting the woodwork, but could not get the goal their dominance deserved. After the break Northern Ireland continued to press and were rewarded on 53 minutes when centre forward Dale Taylor netted with a low drive. 

Soon afterwards Conor Bradley broke through and with only the keeper to beat was brought down by Mika Koskela, who was fortunate to only receive a yellow card. Lewis McKinnon took the spot-kick but saw Finnish keeper Mathias Aahlblas pull off a great save, diving low to his right to turn the shot past the upright. The Finns then pushed forward and Kai Meriluoto glided past two defenders to finish with a low shot just inside the post. With four minutes remaining Terho extended the visitors’ lead, cutting in from the left and unleashing a fierce drive which gave Conner Byrne no chance.

In the second game, played at Dungannon’s Stangmore Park, Northern Ireland got off to a great start when Dale Taylor broke through the Finnish defence in the seventh minute and slotted the ball home. Then Charlie Lindsay saw a fine volley from the edge of the area come back off the underside of the bar before Charlie Allen, fed by Jamie McDonald, fired over from 20 yards. And just before the break Orrin McLaughlin shot wide when well placed. After the restart the Finns came flying out of the traps and drew level when Denis Cukici netted from close range. Both teams then threw everything into attack in front of a sizeable crowd at Stangmore Park. It became an end to end contest.

Kai Meriluoto broke through and looked certain to score but was denied by a great tackle by Lewis McKinnon. At the other end Caolan McBride was just off target with a right foot volley and minutes later his shot from the edge of the area brought a great save from Elmo Henriksson. With time running out and a draw looking imminent Ross McCausland produced a stunning strike to secure victory for Northern Ireland. The winger picked the ball up on the left and cut inside before unleashing a piledriver into the corner of the net.

Northern Ireland U16 squad for game one v Finland (in Belfast): Conner Byrne, Cameron Stewart, Sean Stewart, Matthew Walker, Vicky Saldanha, Sean McAllister, Orrin McLaughlin, Connor Bradley, Ross McCausland, Dale Taylor, Oisin Gibson, Jamal Tavares, Aaron Donnelly, Charlie Lindsay, Caolan McBride, Jamie McDonald, Matty Lusty. 

Northern Ireland U16 squad for game two v Finland (in Dungannon): Conor Manderson, Harry Wylie, Josh Roney, Lewis McKinnon, Aaron Donnelly, Caolan McBride, Charlie Lindsay, Charlie Allen, Reece Doyle, James Clark, Lewis Robertson, Nathan Copeland, Stephen McGuinness, Sean McAllister, Orrin McLaughlin, Connor Bradley, Harry Wilson, Terry Devlin. 

U16's welcome Finland for international friendlies

The Northern Ireland U16 team will kick off their season with two home friendlies against Finland this week.  These international friendlies will be the only home matches for the team before the Victory Shield in November with the squad playing two away fixtures in Estonia in October.

Manager Declan Devine has selected two squads for the games to give the players the opportunity to stake a place in the Victory Shield Squad “ These games are a fantastic opportunity for our players to test themselves against a very high level of opposition and gives this age group a first taste of international football in preparation for the prestigious Victory Shield tournament . I would like to thank NISFA and the Irish FA for the work they do in providing these level of games for our talented young players. We hope this year’s squad can continue in the standards set by last year’s players and hopefully we have players playing this week that may continue to develop in to potential stars of the future”.

 

Tuesday 18th September
New Midgley Park
Belfast
7.00pm Kick off

Thursday 20th September
Stangmore Park, Dungannon
7.00pm Kick off

 

The Northern Ireland Squad’s:
Tuesday 18th September                                                                      Thursday 20th September
 
Connor Byrne                                                                                        Conor Manderson
Cameron Stewart                                                                                  Harry Wylie
Sean Stewart                                                                                        Josh Roney
Matthew Walker                                                                                   Lewis McKinnon
Vicky Saldanha                                                                                     Aaron Donnelly
Sean McAllister                                                                                     Caolan McBride
Orrin McLaughlin                                                                                  Charlie Lindsey
Connor Bradley                                                                                     Charlie Allen
Ross McCausland                                                                                   Reece Doyle
Dale Taylor                                                                                            James Clark
Oisin Gibson                                                                                          Lewis Robertson
Jamal Tavares                                                                                       Nathan Copeland
Aaron Donnelly                                                                                     Stephen McGuinness
Charlie Lindsey                                                                                     Sean McAllister
Caolan McBride                                                                                     Orrin McLaughlin
Jamie McDonald                                                                                    Connor Bradley
Matty Lusty                                                                                            Harry Wilson
                                                                                                               Terry Devlin

U18 top centenary shield with England win

The Northern Ireland U18 team finished their centenary shield campaign with a convincing win over England at Queens Dub.  The team up to this game was unbeaten drawing all three of their games against Scotland, Wales and Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland got off to a great start when Adam Carroll scored with a looping header into the top corner after 10 minutes. England tried to respond straight from kick off and had a great opportunity when they were awarded a penalty 2 minutes later.

The Northern Ireland goalkeeper Declan Dunne was to be the hero diving low to his right to make a fantastic save. Northern Ireland doubled their lead shortly after when Andrew Scotts corner evaded everyone to nestle into the corner of the goal to make it 2-0.  Adam Carroll was to threaten again when his low strike beat the English keeper but was superbly cleared off the line. Northern Ireland made it 3 late into the half when Jack O’Mahony picked up the ball in the England half beat two players and slotted the ball past the keeper.

There were many changes for both teams in the second half that halted the flow of the game.  Jack O’Mahony thought that he had doubled his tally for the day when he flicked an Andrew Scott corner onto the top of the crossbar. England pulled a goal back in the second period however Northern Ireland comfortably ran out winners in the game and placed themselves on top of the table at this stage.

Full Time: Northern Ireland 3-1 England

Northern Ireland U18 Team: Declan Dunne, Caolin Coyle, Aaron Donnelly, Ruari O'Hare, Donal Rocks, Adam Carroll, Patrick Burns, Jack Henderson, Jack O'Mahony, Andrew Scott, Pablo Andrade

Schoolboys set to begin Centenary shield campaign

The Northern Ireland Under-18 Schoolboys’ team are set to get their 2018 Centenary Shield campaign under way in Scotland this evening.

The U18s, who are current joint-holders of the trophy with England, will be taking on the Scots at New Western Park in Renfrew (7.00).

The game had been due to be played at Greenock Morton’s Cappielow ground but the recent bad weather has left the pitch there in bad shape.

However, Northern Ireland’s U18 Schoolboys, who won three of their four fixtures in the 2017 Centenary Shield, are “in good shape” going into the competition, according to manager Frankie Wilson (pictured). 

He explained: “Despite the snow last week our preparations have gone well. The indoor facility at Meadowbank in Magherafelt has helped in recent weeks.

“Our squad is a great mix of lads from all over Northern Ireland and our recent trip to Jersey has helped gel them together. Our aim is to retain the Centenary Shield. We have six players returning from last year along with our new players - and we feel we have the squad to retain the trophy.

“I am looking forward to playing against our friends from Scotland. I am expecting it to be a tight affair.”

He further pointed out coaches Brian Donaghy and Simon Nicks have worked tirelessly each Sunday since November moulding the team, while goalkeeping coach Eamon Curry has been working hard with the keepers.

And he said the squad’s new strength and conditioning coach, Paddy McGrath, had improved the players’ flexibility and core strength as well as highlighting the importance of strength and nutrition to improve performance 

The manager added: “The games will come thick and fast and it's important to get off to a good start. We have a few new players whom I sure will light up the competition this year.”  

Northern Ireland’s second game in the Centenary Shield is against Wales at Newry Showgrounds next Thursday (15 March, 3pm start) followed by a clash with the Republic of Ireland in Monaghan on 29 March. Their final game will be at home to England at Queen’s University Belfast’s Dub complex on 6 April.

 The NISFA Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboys squad for the Centenary Shield: Declan Dunne (School: Mercy College; Club: Cliftonville), Caolan Coyle (Northern Regional College; Dungannon Swifts), Aaron Donnelly (Belfast Met; Cliftonville), Ruari O’Hare (St Patrick’s Grammar Downpatrick; Linfield), Jack Henderson (Ashfield Boys; Glentoran), Andrew Scott (Drumragh Integrated College; Maiden City Academy), Jack Malone (North West Regional College; Derry City), Aaron McGurk (St Brigid’s College; Coleraine), Caoimhine McConnell (Rathmore Grammar; Cliftonville), Jack O’Mahony (Slemish Integrated College; Glenavon), Pablo Andrade (Belfast Met; Dundalk), Adam Carroll (Abbey Grammar Newry; Linfield), Paddy Burns (St Malachy’s College; Glenavon), Scott Pengelly (Grosvenor Grammar; Linfield), Adam McAllenan (RBAI; Ards), Liam Hassin (Larne High School; Carrick Rangers), Donal Rocks (De La Salle Belfast; Cliftonville), Matthew Stephenson (St Columb’s College; Coleraine).

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.

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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