Northern Ireland 0-1 Republic of Ireland
Monday 23rd October
Bangor Fuels Arena
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.