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Ross Redman

Belfast Primary 5 aside competition

Belfast Primary Schools’ Football Association is indebted to Rainbow Communications for their continued sponsorship of the annual Indoor 5-a-side competition.  Rainbow Communications has been instrumental in the success of the competition having sponsored the event for a number of years and we thank them for the continued support.  

The competition is by far the most popular event in our calendar with 37 schools entering in 2018.  Congratulations to Holy Child in winning the shield, the finals of which were held on Wednesday 21st February at the Shankill Leisure Centre.  

Mervyn Bryson (Chairperson)

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).

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.

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