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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.

NI U16's narrow defeat in Victory Shield

Northern Ireland 0-1 Republic of Ireland 

Monday 23rd October 

Bangor Fuels Arena 

3pm 

 

A penalty just three minutes into the second half from Troy Parrott was enough to give Republic of Ireland a 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the opening game of the Victory Shield in Bangor.

Republic of Ireland started the better of the two sides and nearly opened the scoring on the 4th minute, midfielder Troy Parrott received the ball following good work in the middle of the park by Brandon Holt, he seen his shot cannon of the post. Northern Ireland were soaking up a lot of pressure in the early stages of the game, defenders Dylan Boyle, Lewis McKinnon and Peter Bell all putting their bodies on the line to deny the Republic of Ireland forward line.  Down at the other end Northern Ireland didn’t test keeper Jimmy Corcoran but were asking questions of his defence with Aaron Brown and Alberto Balde chasing down balls and making it hard for their opponents.

Midway through the half Northern Ireland grew in confidence, midfield trio Gerard Storey, Ben Gallagher and Carl Johnston played some neat football between themselves before finding Euan Deveney, the full back made an advanced run forward before having a shot on goal that was saved by Corcoran. On the half hour mark Northern Ireland came even closer, Storeys diagonal ball was held well by Aaron Brown before the forward set for Ben Gallagher, he took a touch before hammer a strike off the bar.

Gallagher had another shot for the green and white army shortly after, this time it sailed over the bar as the half time whistle followed. An even first half with Northern Ireland having the better of chances, Republic of Ireland started the game very well but didn’t test keeper David Walsh.

The second half started and Northern Ireland found themselves on the attack again, Alberto Balde on the counter attack put a dangerous delivery into the box that was eventually cleared by the Northern Ireland defence. From the resulting clearance Republic of Ireland carved an attack of their own, James Furlong and Armstrong Oko-Flex combined before the later was brought down just inside the box by Northern Ireland midfielder Gerard Storey.  Troy Parrott stepped up and sent keeper David Walsh the wrong way to put his side in front.

Northern Ireland's likely goal scorer if anyone was going to be Ben Gallagher, the midfielder found himself again in the second half having chances on goal but none tested Jimmy Corcoran. Republic of Ireland were happy to hold on to their 1-0 lead as changes were made to take the sting out of the game, they sat in and soaked some pressure, on the ball they looked for substitute Festy Obosele on the right hand side.  The winger came close himself, having a shot saved at the near post by keeper Walsh.

With 15 minutes to go Northern Ireland hit the post for a second time, Alberto Balde was finding joy down the right flank, he played a ball inside the Conor Bradley who directed his shot onto the woodwork. Festy Obesele and Brandon Holt worked together for Republic of Ireland's next attack in the final 10 minutes, Obeseles shot brought a fine save from David Walsh.

Northern Ireland huffed and puffed with substitutes Peter McKiernan and Conor Bradley at the heart of attacks, using their fresh legs to run at the Republic of Ireland defence but just lacking the final ball. Alberto Balde had the games final chance, a Euan Deveney corner found the Portadown forwards head; but it wasn’t the connection he hoped for as the ball trickled wide of the goal.

Republic of Ireland defeat Northern Ireland by 1 goal to nil in the opening game of this years Victory Shield, both teams had their chances but Troy Parrotts goal separated the two sides.

Republic of Ireland face Wales this coming Wednesday at Bangor Fuels Arena, 11am kick off.  Meanwhile Northern Ireland come up against Scotland at Seaview, 1pm kick off.

Northern Ireland XI: Walsh, Boyle ©, Bell, MacKinnon, Hume, Deveney, Johnston, Storey, Gallagher, Brown, Balde.

Northern Ireland Substitutes: Taylor, Carson, Bradley (for Brown 56), Hutchinson, Baggley, McBride (for Storey 66), McKiernan (for Gallagher 54), McGivern, Teggert.

Republic of Ireland XI: Corcoran, Dunne, Power, Kelly, Furlong, Keogh ©, Holt, Parrott, Kennedy, Oko-Flex, Odupeko.

Republic of Ireland Substitutes: Halwax, Agberhiere (for Furlong 59), McKinley, Healy, Ogbungo, Farrell, Obosele (for Kennedy 54), Giurgi.

Stalemate in opening Victory Shield game

Scotland 1 – 1 Wales

Victory Shield

Monday 23rd October 2017

Seaview 1pm KO

Scotland and Wales kicked off the 72nd victory shield tournament at Seaview Belfast in the early kick off on Monday 23rd October.  Wales started the game brighter with Cavan Williams and Bradley Gibbings causing the Scotland defence problems, However, it was Scotland that had the first sight of goal when a long ball into the box was met by full back Harris O’Connor.  His header struck the bottom of the post with David Robson well beaten. Both teams had a succession of corners but neither could make the breakthrough.  The deadlock was broken on 31 minutes when a surging run by Bradley Gibbings won a free kick just outside the Scotland penalty area.  Dan Malone stepped up and curled a wonderful freekick into the top corner of the net with Jack Newman helpless.  Wales continued to press after the goal and Luke Motruck had a header just wide of the mark.

 Half time Scotland 0-1 Wales

 The game opened up early in the second half with both sides creating chances. On 47 minutes Scotland drew level with a fantastic individual goal.  Cole Starrs raced through onto a long ball shrugging off a welsh defender before keeping his compose to slot the ball passed the on-rushing David Robson. Scotland pushed for a winner with Karamoko Dembele getting space on the right however his shot was blocked by the Welsh defence.  Connor Smith thought that he had won it late on when he ran onto a short back pass only to see his shot saved bravely by David Robson.

 

Full time Scotland 1-1 Wales

Scotland Team: Jack Newman, Harris O’Connor, Liam Millar, Kyle McClelland, Liam Morrison, Andrew Winter, Connor Smith, Cole Starrs, Karamoko Dembele, Ciaran Dickson, Jenson Weir

Wales Team: David Robson, Jamie Taylor, Luke Mortruk, Luc Noble, Ollie Denham, Owen Hesketh, Bradley Gibbings, Ollie Ewing, Will Russ, Dan Malone, Cavan Williams

 

U16's travel to Finland for final preparation

The Northern Ireland U16 team will continue their preparations for next month’s Victory Shield tournament with a double header against Finland next week.

The first of the international friendlies takes place on Tuesday (12 September, 6.30pm) in Jyväskylä with the second game being staged next Thursday (1pm) in the city in central Finland.

The Schoolboys side will be hoping to keep their unbeaten run going. In recent months they have won two games at home against Estonia U16s and drawn twice with Austria’s U16s away.

The double header next week will be the team’s final preparation matches ahead of the Victory Shield – the Home International series for U16 teams – at the end of next month.

Northern Ireland U16 manager Darren Murphy says the matches against Finland are vital for the players’ development.

He pointed out: “The matches building up to the Victory Shield have been fantastic for the boys. We have three 2003 players in the squad as seven 2002 players have been selected for the Northern Ireland U17 squad in preparation for their European Championship qualifying campaign.

“This trip gives us a chance to look at these young players on the international stage. I am expecting two very tough games with Finland but also really looking forward to the challenge.”

The Northern Ireland squad for the games against Finland: David Walsh (Linfield), Conner Byrne (Glenavon), Trai Hume (Linfield), Dylan Boyle (Ridgeway Rovers), John McGivern (Ridgeway Rovers), Vicky Saldanha De Rosa (Dungannon Swifts), Chris Hutchinson (Portadown), Carl Johnston (Linfield), Jesse Carson (Linfield), Gerard Storey (Ridgeway Rovers), Barry Baggley (Glentoran), Euan Devreney (Rangers), George Tipton (Ridgeway Rovers), Peter McKiernan (Cliftonville), Aaron Brown (Linfield), Alberto Balde (Portadown), Eoin Teggert (Cliftonville) and Lewis Mackinnon (Linfield).

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')

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