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Ross Redman

NI still undefeated in Victory Shield

Victory Shield U 16 Tournament Tralee Co. Kerry. Match 2 Northern Ireland v Scotland Mounthawk Park, Wednesday 14 November 2018. KO 6 pm.

 

Brave Northern Ireland stay top of the Victory Shield table after a battling 1-1 draw with Scotland despite playing with ten men from the 30 th minute of the opening half.

Scotland took the lead after 20 min. with a goal from striker Christopher Mochrie who beat Conner Byrne at his near post with a clinical finish. Northern Ireland suffered a set back on the half hour when  Sean McAllister received a second yellow card.

On resumption in the second half substitute Charlie Allen went close with a low left foot shot which was just inches wide. In the 50th min substitute Euan Williams brilliantly cut inside his marker from the right before unleashing an unstoppable shot low to the keeper’s left.

Two minutes later Ross McCausland almost gave Northern Ireland the lead when he shot across the keeper, but it just drifted wide of the left hand post. On the hour Scotland’s Alex Lowry spurned a good chance when he shot wide from inside the box.

Northern Ireland’s defence was outstanding against late Scottish pressure, but on the counterattack Northern Ireland looked threatening and Dale Taylor raced through the heart of the Scottish defence, but his pass to McCausland was slightly overhit.

Despite 5 added minutes in driving rain Scotland could not breach a solid Northern Ireland rearguard in which centre backs Lewis MacKinnon & Aaron Donnelly were outstanding.

Northern Ireland can now go on & win the Victory Shield by beating Wales on Friday.

Overall a tremendous team display by the Northern Ireland heroes.  Manager Gerald Boyle ‘’ Delighted with the performances of all the boys and how they adapted tactically to Scotland’s setup, especially going down to ten men, so early in the game. Very proud, however, we want to push on and bring the Victory Shield home outright for only the second time in 73 years. ‘’ 

U16's defeat Victory shield holder in opener

Northern Ireland’s Schoolboys got their 2018 Victory Shield campaign off to a flying start with a fine win against their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.

Two late goals helped them ease past the Republic, the current shield holders, on a 3-1 scoreline in Co Kerry.

This year’s Under-16 Schoolboys’ competition is being organised by the Football Association of Ireland’s Schools department on behalf of the Schools’ Association Football International Board.

The first half of the game, which was played at Mounthawk Park in Tralee last night, was pretty even, although Northern Ireland shaded it in terms of possession.

Both sides had opportunities before the first clearcut chance fell to Republic striker Oliver O’Neill but he directed a cross from Lee Harkin over the bar.

Then Republic midfielder Ben McCormack smashed a shot against the post before striker Louie Barry’s long range effort was palmed away superbly by Northern Ireland keeper Conner Byrne on 32 minutes. 

After the break, however, Northern Ireland started to get a grip on proceedings and they deservedly took the lead on 62 minutes when Linfield attacker Ross McCausland drilled the ball into the net from just outside the area.

The Republic drew level just a minute later when O’Neill pounced on a mistake by a defender and slammed the ball home. 

The home side pushed forward – cheered on by a 500-strong crowd – but Northern Ireland launched a superb counter attack on 85 minutes which resulted in them taking the lead. Following a flowing move substitute Ciaran McGuckin (Rotherham United) was on hand to stroke the ball into the corner of the net. 

And St Oliver Plunkett player Sean Stewart put the icing on the cake in stoppage time with another lovely finish. 

The Victory Shield was presented to SAFIB in 1947 to mark, as suggested by its title, victory by the Allies in World War II - and has been played for continuously since then. England have not entered for the past few years, so Northern Ireland’s U16s are facing Wales, Scotland and the Republic in the 2018 tournament this week.

Northern Ireland will be hoping to produce another positive display in their second game in the competition, which is against Scotland at Mounthawk tomorrow (14 November, 18.00). Their final game is also at Mounthawk on Friday when they take on Wales (13.00). 

Northern Ireland Schoolboys team v Republic of Ireland: Conner Byrne, Sean Stewart, Aaron Donnelly, Lewis MacKinnon, Orrin McLaughlin, Conor Bradley (captain), Charlie Allen, Dale Taylor (Ciaran McGuckin 70’), Euan Williams (Caolan McBride 62’), Ross McCausland, Vicky Saldanha (Sean McAllister 70’).

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
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