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U16 victory shield (34)

U16's defeat Poland in International Friendly

Northern Ireland U16 team defeats Poland

The Northern Ireland Under 16 team recorded the first win over Poland at this level since 2003 when two goals from Jonny Evans secured a 2-1 win.  Gerard Lyttle's boys maintained their unbeaten run this season and they did it the hard way by coming from behind to defeat a strong Polish side by the same scoreline at Shamrock Park.

The home team began strongly with Connor Scannell and Conor Falls causing problems down the flanks. Despite the strong pressure from Northern Ireland in the early stages it was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play after 18 minutes. Mateusz Lipp met a corner on the right with a strong header which was blocked on the line by Michael Forbes but the rebound came back to the tall defender who volleyed home from close range.

Soon afterwards Conor Falls did well to hold off a challenge from two defenders but Polish keeper Oliwier Zych got down well to his left to keep out his low drive.

On 28 minutes Jake Wallace made a great run down the right but his cross was just too high for the inrushing Scannell.

Poland were always dangerous on the counterattack and Kacper Duda pounced upon slackness in the home defence but dragged his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

Northern Ireland made a sensational start to the second half and drew level inside the first minute as Polish centre back Radosław Seweryś deflected a low cross into his own net.  Five minutes later Northern Ireland took the lead.  A free kick from the left by Matthew Carson was headed back across goal by Michael Forbes and Jamie Donley was quick to react, forcing the ball in from six yards.

Poland responded well to this reverse and launched a series of attacks. Northern Ireland keeper Alex Henderson was in constant action producing an excellent save to keep out a fierce drive by Iwo Kaczmarski.  In the closing stages Poland pressed strongly in search of an equaliser but found it difficult to break down a staunch defence in which Forbes and substitute Aidan Lillis stood out.

The teams meet again  at The Oval on Wednesday night, kick off 7.00 pm and Northern Ireland will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten record this season before they set off next week to defend the Victory Shield in Wrexham against Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Alex Henderson, Jake Wallace, Matthew Carson, Michael Forbes, Josh Roney, Harry Wilson, Brodie Spencer, Jamie McDonnell (C), Jamie Donley, Conor Scannell, Conor Falls



Charlie Lindsay replaced Spencer (45 minutes)

Jacson Coppack replaced Falls (45 minutes)

Callam Marshall replaced McDonnell (65 minutes)

Aidan Lillis replaced Roney (65 minutes)

Lewis Tosh replaced Donley (72 minutes)

Northern Ireland’s U16s hit five against Estonia’s

Northern Ireland’s U16s hit five against Estonia’s U16s in their second challenge match of the week against the Estonians.

 After registering a comfortable 2-0 win in game one the U16s followed it up with a fine display and a 5-2 victory in an entertaining game at Stangmore Park in Dungannon.

 Gerard Lyttle’s team got off to a great start with Charlie Lindsay netting from 10 yards with only four minutes on the clock. 

Northern Ireland then went close several times before Bobby Deane doubled the lead on 20 minutes, tapping in from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

On the half-hour mark Andreas Vaher was narrowly off target as the visitors came more into the game.  

Estonian centre forward Romet Kaupmees was a constant threat and was rewarded for his hard work in the 36thminute. He took advantage of slackness in the Northern Ireland defence when he intercepted a poor back pass to drill the ball home.

Shortly after the interval Lindsay restored the two-goal advantage with another fine strike. And then on 58 minutes Estonian centre back Ants Virkus put through his own goal under pressure from Conor Scannell.

Estonian striker Nikita Kondratski showed a fine turn of speed on 67 minutes to outpace two Northern Ireland defenders and slot the ball just inside the post, giving substitute keeper Matthew Williamson no chance. 

However, just a minute later Northern Ireland captain Michael Forbes met a corner from the right to power a header into the roof of the net to leave the final score at 5-2.

The Northern Ireland U16 Schoolboys will travel to Finland next month for two challenge games and will then play Poland at home on Monday 14 October and Wednesday 16 October in preparation for the defence of the Victory Shield in Wales at the end of October.

Northern Ireland U16s:Billy McDowell (replaced by Matthew Williamson 52’), Jake Wallace, Bobby Deane (Callan Devlin 40’), Michael Forbes (captain), Josh Roney (Ruairi McConville 40’), Harry Wilson (Ethan Sousa 57’), Conor Scannell, Jamie McDonnell (Lewis Tosh 40’), Brodie Spencer (Cameron Crook 57’), Charlie Lindsay, Elliott Wood (Conor Falls 57’).

Main image: Northern Ireland's Bobby Deane celebrates scoring against Estonia during Wednesday nights Under 16 Invitational International at Stangmore Park, Dungannon. Photo: William Cherry/Presseye

NI U16 start campaign with win

Northern Ireland’s U16s registered a comfortable 2-0 victory against Estonia’s U16s in the first of two challenge matches against the Estonians this week.

Gerard Lyttle’s team began strongly in the game at Knockbreda, with Charlie Lindsay in particular causing problems for the visitors with his pace down the right wing.  

Estonian keeper Kaupo Kruusmäe initially kept the U16 Schoolboys at bay, producing good saves to deny Harry Wilson and Jamie McDonnell. 

But his resistance crumbled on 27 minutes as Lindsay carved open the Estonian defence and his low cross was tapped in by Brodie Spencer from close range to put Northern Ireland one up.

Seven minutes later Northern Ireland captain Jamie McDonnell doubled the lead with a wonderful strike. The talented midfielder picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and fired an unstoppable shot past Kruusmäe into the roof of the net.

On the stroke of half-time Estonia missed a great chance to reduce the deficit when Gregor Lehtmets was brought down inside the box. The striker took the spot kick himself but Billy McDowell produced a great save low to his left to keep the ball out.

After the break Northern Ireland continued to press but it was Estonia who came closest to scoring when Romet Kaupmees broke through but his shot was cleared off the line by Michael Forbes.

In the closing stages Kruusmäe produced another outstanding save to keep out a fierce drive from Elliott Wood.

The two games against Estonia are kick-starting preparations for the Victory Shield in November when the Northern Ireland U16 Schoolboys will be looking to retain the trophy.

The teams meet again at Stangmore Park in Dungannon tomorrow (21 August). Kick-off time is 7 pm.

Northern Ireland U16s: Billy McDowell, Jake Wallace, Bobby Deane (replaced by Lewis Tosh 52’), Michael Forbes, Josh Roney (Ruairi McConville 61’), Harry Wilson, Conor Scannell (Elliott Wood 52’), Jamie McDonnell (captain), Brodie Spencer, Charlie Lindsay (Ethan Sousa 61’), Cameron Crook (Callan Devlin 52’).

Substitutes: (not used) Matthew Williamson, Callum Marshall.

U16's earn draw in Poland

Under 16s draw in Poland

Buoyed  by their success in capturing the Victory Shield one week ago the Northern Ireland Under 16 team began their short tour to Poland in confident mood despite facing an experienced Polish team which had lost only once in ten outings this year..

The visitors started brightly and might have taken the lead after 5 minutes. Sean McAllister was brought down just outside the penalty area and took the free kick himself, bringing an outstanding save from Krzysztof Barkowski.

Five minutes later Poland replied with a speculative shot from Aleksander Buksa which dipped just over the bar.

A corner by Conor Bradley caused problems in the home defence and Charlie Allen's close range effort was cleared off the line.  Allen then outpaced his marker down the right and a low cross was turned onto the post by Dale Taylor.

After the break another foray down the right saw Allen fire a low ball across the goal but Taylor was just unable to apply the finishing touch.

Buksa was a constant threat for Poland and the tall striker almost broke the deadlock midway through the second half but his shot from 25 yards crashed against the bar with Conner Byrne well beaten.

In the closing stages spurred on by a vociferous support Poland piled on the pressure but the Northern Ireland defence, in which centre back Shea Charles was a calming influence, held firm for a well deserved draw.                                                                   

The teams meet again on Thursday at Swarzędz.



Conner Byrne, Sean McAllister, Sean Stewart, Aaron Donnelly, Shea Charles, Orrin McLaughlin, Charlie Allen, Jonah Heron, Dale Taylor, Isaac Price, Conor Bradley (captain)



Caolan McBride (replaced Bradley 80 + 3 minutes)

NI Claim Victory Shield

Northern Ireland’s U16 Schoolboys defeated Wales 3-1 in Tralee this afternoon to claim the Victory Shield for only the second time in the country’s history.

Orrin McLaughlin, Vicky Saldanha and Euan Williams (penalty) scored the goals that created history for Declan Boyle’s team.

A 1-1 draw against Scotland on Wednesday night meant a win against Wales this afternoon would see them lift the trophy for the first time since 2000-01 when a certain Steven Davis was part of the squad.

Northern Ireland defeated the Republic of Ireland 3-1 in their first game in the tournament on Monday.



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
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

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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