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U18 centenary shield (23)

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).

Victory in Wales earns NI Centenary Shield

The Northern Ireland U18 squad knew that with a win away in Cardiff they would at very least share the trophy this year depending on other results.  Frankie Wilsons men duly delivered with a comprehensive 3-0 win to end a fantastic season for the team. Northern Ireland must now wait for the result of tonight’s game between England and the Republic of Ireland to see if they share the trophy or win it outright with everyone hoping for a draw.

The match in Cardiff came to life in the second half when a stubborn Welsh defence was unlocked by a delightful 20 yard free kick by Ryan Strain.  It was two to the away side shortly after when a through ball send Daniel Reynolds in on goal who made no mistake striking the ball into the corner.  The final goal came late on when Niall Owens was upended in the penalty area, Eamon Scannell stepped up and made no mistake with the spot kick. 

Frankie Wilson was understandable delighted with the squad “It's not often as a manager you have a feeling of contentment. Last nights win in Wales was extra special. Despite being in total control we couldn't get the goal. We missed a conservative 10 guilt edged chances. But as Niall Owens said ' this team would always find a way.'

Readers will not realise that this process started last year scouting at the Milk Cup. It progressed to trial of over 120 boys throughout NI. We travelled to Derry, south Armagh, Magherafelt and Belfast to get a squad.  Each Sunday since November we have been in working with the squad.  Coach Brian Donaghy sessions were both innovative and challenging with possession and retention being important elements. Eamon Curry and Newry high schools Simon Nicks assisted as goalkeeping coach and defence coach. Kit man Adam Steed was as ever brilliantly organised. Our Physio Linda was most professional and secretary Bob Ramsey was forever the wise old head. 

After the game I said to the boys that these wins will be forever remembered. To beat England 4-1 away from home and score 2 in last 5 mins against Scotland will live long in the memory. One sad part was that my old teacher and NISFA secretary Martin Donaghy passed away before Christmas and didn't see us do so well in centenary shield. The win was also dedicated to my friend and co manager last year Conor Marlin who had to leave our shores to find work in football. We had a little luck this year a commodity we didn't have in last 3 years. I told the boys that they should bask in the glory as it's not often a team from NI outplay and dominate and a win tournaments.”

Northern Ireland u18's ease to victory in Torquay

England v Northern Ireland
inspiresport Centenary Shield Under 18 International
24 March 2017

England 1 v 4 Northern Ireland

Kingsford Adjei 45 mins

Caolin Coyle 5 mins
Eamon Scannell (p) 31 mins
Daniel Reynolds 41 mins
Ryan Strain 55 mins

Friday 24 March 2017
Kick Off 7.00 pm

The Northern Ireland Schools Under 18 team recorded their biggest ever win on English soil defeating England 4-1 at the Plainmoor Stadium Torquay in the inspiresport Centenary Shield.

The hosts had defeated Scotland 5-1 in their opening game in the Centenary Shield campaign but were rocked after 5 minutes as Caolin Coyle collected a short free kick from Niall Owens and drilled a low shot into the corner of the net.

On 31 minutes Owens was upended inside the box and Eamon Scannell confidently despatched the spot kick to double the lead.

Ten minutes later the visitors went further ahead. Aaron Donnelly sent a long pass to Ryan Strain and when the striker's shot came off the upright Daniel Reynolds quickly netted the rebound.

On the stroke of half time England reduced the leeway as Kingsford Adjei shot home from 10 yards following a period of intense pressure.

On the restart England pushed forward but within ten minutes Strain restored the three goal lead. A neat movement down the left involving Scannell and Owens created space for Strain who found the corner of the net with a shot from the edge of the box.

In the closing stages England pressed strongly but could make no impression on a solid Northern Ireland defence in which centre back Eoin Toal was outstanding.

The team's next match is against Scotland at Solitude on Friday 31 March, kick off 3.00 pm. The Northern Ireland Schools’ Football Association is offering free entrance to any school or youth group wishing to attend the game. Any group wishing to gain free entrance should send their details by email to Edwin Ferris, NISFA Treasurer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain a group permit.

Conor Larkin
Caolin Coyle
Eamon Scannell
Aaron Donnelly
Eoin Toal
Bobby Burns (c)
Ryan Strain
Niall Owens
Christopher Crane
Daniel Reynolds
Lorcan Forde

Fra Nolan replaced Reynolds 45 minutes
Andrew Scott replaced Strain 64 minutes
Jack O'Mahony replaced Forde 71 minutes
Thomas Roscoe replaced Owens 90+1 minutes

Centenary Shield kicks off for Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Under-18 Schoolboys’ team will play their first game in this year’s Centenary Shield next week. 

Providing the opposition at the Bangor Fuels Arena on Thursday (2March) will be the Republic of Ireland, with a 3pm start.

Team manager Frankie Wilson said: “Our preparations have been going very well.  After 12 weeks of an intensive trial process we finally picked our squad for the Shield. “Friendly games at home to Australia and away in Jersey over the past couple of months have been very beneficial as they gave the team much needed time together on and off the pitch.“We currently have 22 members of the squad training which we have brought down to 18 for the Republic game. We have made one change from the squad that went to Jersey with an injured Jack Henderson being replaced by Lorcan Forde.” He added that games against the Republic have always been competitive and he is expecting more of the same this year.

Organised by SAFIB (Schools Association Football International Board), the Centenary Shield is contested for by the U18 boys selects representing the schoolboy football associations of the UK plus the Republic. The Republic are already top of the group after winning their first game against Wales last week thanks to a last minute goal. The game in Dublin ended 2-1  Northern Ireland’s second game in the competition will see them take on England in Torquay on 24 March, followed by a home game against Scotland on 31 March. Their final game in this year’s Shield will see them come up against Wales away on 12 April.

The Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboys squad features:

Conor Larkin Drumcree College (Club: Portadown)

Eamon Scannell Corpus Christi College (Linfield)

Christopher Crane Corpus Christi College (Cliftonville)

Eoin Toal St Patrick’s Armagh (Armagh City)

Aaron Donnelly Belfast Met (Cliftonville)

Bobby Burns St Malachy’s College (Glenavon)

Andy Scott Drumragh Integrated College (Maiden City)

Lorcan Forde Abbey Grammar Newry (Warrenpoint Town)

Fra Nolan Belfast Met (Ballymena)

Daniel Reynolds Belfast Met (Cliftonville)

Niall Owens St Michael’s College (Ballinamallard United)

Caolin Coyle Northern Regional College (Dungannon Swifts)

Deccy Dunne Mercy College (Cliftonville)

Thomas Roscoe Wallace High School (Dungannon Swifts)

Conall Young Belfast Met (Glenavon)

Matthew Kirk St Columb’s College (Newbuildings)

Jack O’Mahony Slemish College (Glenavon)

Ryan Strain Northern Regional College (Linfield) 

U18's draw home international

Northern Ireland 1 – 1 Australia


Monday 23rd January

Seaview 3pm Ko 

The Northern Ireland under 18 schoolboys began the year with a draw and a strong performance against Australia schools.  The NI squad have only been assembled in the last few months however looked confident and assured in a positive performance against high calibre opposition.  Northern Ireland controlled the early possession and were the first to threaten when Jack O’Mahoney found space on the right only to put his shot wide of the goal. The next chance for NI came shortly after when a well worked free kick found man of the match Niall Owens whose goal bound effort was blocked by a defender.

Northern Ireland continued to control the possession in the first half and were nearly gifted the lead when the Australian keepers poor clearance found Bobby Burns who with no hesitation struck a first time effort from 30 yards just wide of the goal.  The first goal of the game came against the run of play when Australia gained good position working their way into the Northern Ireland half and smashing a low shot into the corner of the Northern Ireland goal giving goalkeeper Declan Dunne no chance. The Northern Ireland team regrouped well after the set back and continued to be the stronger into half time with Eamon Scannell and Caolin Coyle both having efforts saved by the Australian keeper.

Half time Northern Ireland 0-1 Australia

The second half of the game started as bright as the first with Northern Ireland controlling possession.  Niall Owens had an early chance when he cut in from the right only to see his effort saved by the keeper.  The NI equaliser came shortly after the break with a harsh penalty decision for handball as Australia tried to clear the ball from their area.  Eamonn Scannell stepped up and made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way and placing the ball into the bottom left corner.  Scannell was involved again shortly after progressing well down the left wing and driving a ball across the face of goal however Bobby Burns couldn’t convert. 

As the game went on both teams had chances to win it firstly Declan Dunne made a good save at the near post while substitute Andrew Scott caused the Australian defence trouble driving to the by line but couldn’t find a team mate in the box.  Both teams substitutes made a difference to the game and it was Northern Irelands Daniel Reynolds who had the two best chances at the end of the game firstly having a shot at the near post saved and then driving an effort over the bar after good work from Owens. Australia had the final chance of the game with an effort saved and gathered at the second attempt by substitute goalkeeper Conor Larkin.

Northern Ireland 1-1 Australia

Northern Ireland Team : Declan Dunne, Eamon Scannell, Caolan Coyle, Eoin Toal, Aaron Donnelly, Niall Owens, Thomas Roscoe, Matthew Kirk, Bobby Burns, Ryan Strain, Jack O’Mahoney


Subs : Conor Larkin, Christopher Crane, Andrew Scott, Jack Henderson, Fra Nolan, Daniel Reynolds, Conall Young, 

Northern Ireland U18 start season with home test

The Northern Ireland under 18 team preparation for the centenary shield will start with a home game against Australia at Seaview on Monday 23rd January 3pm ko.  Manager Frankie Wilson has selected an 18 man squad for the game however puts an emphasis on the strength in depth needed to be successful for the year “it was a hard decision to select the 18 man squad as we have had 22 training every Sunday for the last few weeks with all players pushing to represent their country. 

As the campaign will last into April we know that we will need all players challenging for positions if we are going to lift the centenary shield this year.  I feel that Australia will be a tough test for the team, we have prepared differently this year by scheduling more matches in preparation and putting the players up against more physical teams as we feel that this will be key especially in away games to England and Wales.”

The squad will travel to Jersey a week after to play two more games and then will be home to the Republic of Ireland on 2nd March. The U18 international squad for the Australia game:



Conor Larkin

SRC Armagh


Eamon Scannell

Corpus Christi College


Christopher Crane

Corpus Christi College


Eoin Toal

St Patricks Armagh

Armagh City

Aaron Donnelly

Belfast Met


Bobby Burns

St Malachys College


Andy Scott

Drumragh Integrated College

Maiden City

Jack Henderson

Bangor Academy


Fra Nolan

Belfast Met


Daniel Reynolds

Belfast Met


Niall Owens

St Michael’s College


Caolin Coyle

Northern Regional College

Dungannon Swifts

Decky Dunne

Mercy College


Thomas Roscoe

Wallace High School

Dungannon Swifts

Conall Young

Belfast Met


Matthew Kirk

St Columbs College


Jack O’Mahony

Slemish College


Ryan Strain

Northern Regional College



Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboy trials

The Northern Ireland U18 Schoolboys begin their preparation for their 2017 Centenary shield season with trial games across the country.  Northern Ireland under 18 international team manager Frankie Wilson “the trial process is key to the selection of the team, we would like to give as many young players as possible the chance to showcase their talent for a chance to play for their country”. The under 18 management team are now looking for recommendations from clubs and schools to send through their best 5/6 players to take part in the trial process. It is important to state that there is an extremely high level deemed international standard should to considered to attend trials.

 The trials will be as follows:

North West Trial – Vale Centre - Sunday 16th October at 10.15am.

South Down and Armagh Trial – Camlough FC – Sunday 23rd October at 10.15am

Tyrone and Fermanagh Trial – Institute FC – Tuesday 8th November at 7.30pm

Antrim and North Down – Queens DUB – Sunday 13th November at 10.15am

Players must be at the 1999 and 2000 age groups (players must be born ON OR AFTER 1 JANUARY 1999).

Please send the following information to Bob Ramsey, NISFA under 18 International Team Secretary, ASAP.

Email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  1. Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Position
  4. School
  5. Club

Under 18 Squad named for international against Wales

Under 18 Squad named for international against Wales

The Northern Ireland Schools Under 18 team takes on Wales at Comber on Thursday 14 April, kick off 4.30 pm, in their final game of the Inspiresport Centenary Shield competition.  The team has already drawn 1-1 against Scotland in Glasgow and last time out secured a scoreless draw against the Republic of Ireland in Arklow.  Unfortunately, a 2-1 defeat by England at Comber last month ended any hope of regaining the Centenary Shield.

England has already clinched the title thanks to 2-1 victories over Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and a 2-2 draw against the Republic of Ireland but Wales lie in second place after recording a 1-nil win away to Scotland.

Northern Ireland has a tremendous record against Wales having lost only twice, both times away from home.  The last defeat came in 2001 and since then in 10 meetings Northern Ireland has won 8 matches with two drawn.

Northern Ireland Under 18 Managers Conor Marlin and Frankie Wilson will be eager to maintain the excellent record against Wales.  Frankie Wilson commented "By all accounts this is the best Welsh side for many years and so we are expecting a strong challenge.  They recorded a superb 1-0 victory in Scotland and were unlucky to lose by a late goal to England.  They are currently in second place in the Centenary Shield and will be keen to secure their best finish in the championship for many years."

Conor Marlin added "Adam McCracken is injured. He has been an outstanding stalwart in defence and his loss will be a blow to us but the good news is that David Parkhouse who missed the games against England and the Republic through injury is now fit and his strength and work rate will give us added impetus. The team has not enjoyed the best of luck this season, being denied victory in Scotland with a good goal disallowed for offside while some controversial decisions went against us in the Republic game.  We will be going all out for victory to maintain our record against the Welsh."

The Northern Ireland Schools’ Football Association is offering free entrance to any school or youth group wishing to attend the match.  Any group wishing to gain free entrance should send their details by email to Edwin Ferris, NISFA Treasurer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain a group permit.


Northern Ireland Under 18 Squad



Jack Ferguson


Reece Kane


Ronan Wilson


Caolan Marron


Karl Hamill


Ryan Nimick


Michael Kerr


Ronan Young


Lloyd Anderson


Jonathan McCaw


Patrick Cafolla


Matthew Henry


Reece Neale


Joshua Connery


Salou Jallow


Nathaniel Ferris


David Parkhouse


Timmy Browne


NI U18 lose out to late penalty

Northern Ireland 1-2 England

Nathaniel Ferris (77)                                                  Jos Thomas (70), Zak Lilley (Pen 82)


The second of the INSPIRESPORT CENTENARY SHIELD fixtures took place on Friday evening in Comber FC with the English snatching a late winner from the penalty spot as Northern Ireland suffered their first defeat of the campaign.


Conor Marlin & Frank Wilson’s side enjoyed a point apiece last week in Glasgow in the opening game of the 2016 series. Substitute Salou Jallow opened the scoring for the visitors on the hour mark but this was cancelled out five minutes later with a delightful header from Hamilton Grammar student John Cunningham. Jallow thought he bagged the match winner in the dying minutes of the game but his goal was ruled off side.


Matthew Shelvin, David Parkhouse and Karl Hamill were absent from the England encounter yesterday which meant a late call up for Timmy Browne (Regent House).


The England side took the lead courtesy of a well-placed header from Jos Thomas 25 minutes into the second period after an excellent save by Jack Ferguson.


The Northern Ireland managers made a few tactically changes once they conceded which saw the introduction of Nathaniel Ferris. The young Portadown College student had an immediate impact on proceedings as he found the equaliser on 77 minutes.


Both sides carved out some real chances but goalkeepers Ferguson and Wycherley were razor sharp between the posts.


The winner came 8 minutes from time as England’s Zak Liffey converted from the spot to ensure a full three points for England. 


Northern Ireland will pick themselves up from their recent disappointment as they meet the Republic of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day in Arklow Town FC for their penultimate game in the crusade.  They will finish their Shield outing with a home game against the Welsh on April 15.


NORTHERN IRELAND: Ferguson, Kerr, Wilson (C), McCracken, Marron, Nimick, Young, Anderson, McCaw, Henry, Jallow,

UBS: Kane,Toland, Neale, Cafolla, Connery, Ferris, Browne

MANAGEMENT: Conor Marlin, Frank Wilson (Joint Managers), Brian Donaghey (GK Coach)


ENGLAND: Wycherley, O’Malley, Orisatoki, Cook, Wisson, Mouanda (C), Shonibare, Breen, Smith, Bradshaw, Lilly

SUBS: Thomas, O’Halloran, Lawrence, Lamb, Hartshorne, Woodward, Grange

MANAGEMENT: Andy Blight (Manager), Ben Lavelle (Assistant Manager)



REFEREE: Shane Andrews

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