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,